Poetry in Song

Writer and poet Marc Nair sheds light on fellow poet Pooja Nansi, who teaches English Literature at Temasek Junior College.
Poetry in Song

Two parts of the same;
the bar stool, its wobbly heart.
Wisdom and whisky.

The haiku above is my little encapsulation, if you will, of Pooja Nansi’s writing. Not your average English Literature teacher, Pooja wields it to build worlds for herself and for others. Growing up, she always loved words, and scribbled poems whenever she was bored. Somewhere along the way, it “became the thing I turned to whenever I needed something to feed my soul,” she says.

Pooja’s poems often journey into the personal, but always contain a universal sentiment that speaks to her readers. “It’s how I see the world, how I understand it, how I challenge it.” She says that her poems are best described as personal, vulnerable and fearless.

She loves both teaching and writing, believing that being a teacher makes her a better writer. Introducing the works of great writers to her students means she is always inspired to better herself. “It also means someone is actually paying me to read amazing work and share what is amazing about it (pinch me) but in this way, I am always challenged to question the assumptions behind my own writing.”

Not content to just write poetry, she is also one half of the Mango Dollies – an eclectic duo that sets poems to music. Pooja has also given back to the community with Speakeasy, a monthly poetry reading that features upcoming and established local and visiting poets at Artistry Gallery Cafe.

But after the last stanza, it’s always the little things that stay with her. Once, a 13-year-old boy came up to Pooja after a reading at Books Actually. He never read poetry until his teacher brought one of Pooja’s poems into class. He loved it so much that he asked Pooja to share some of her favorite poems with him, because he just knew he would love them too.    

Pooja Nansi has just released her second collection of poems, Love is an Empty Barstool. Marc Nair recently launched his third volume of poetry, Postal Code.

    Mar 7, 2014
    Marc Nair
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