There is no titular story in Inez Tan’s debut collection This is Where I Won’t Be Alone. As an American reader, I first considered this title a statement of theme or artistic destination. But if you’re Singaporean, then you know the title as an excerpt from a popular 1998 song called “Home,” written by Dick Lee for the first in a series of songs Singapore’s National Day Parade, celebrated on August 9th of each year.
“When I teach, my analogy is that fiction is a huge tree while poetry is a bonsai. It’s immensely helpful to toggle between working on different scales. Fiction helps me infuse my poems with narrative. Poetry makes my fiction more deft, descriptive, and concise.”
“Several friends and journalists have noted the absence of text in Singapore. I have the most immense respect for the authority of words; that’s why I’ve not allowed any into the book.”