What Gives Us Our Names in French

Poet Alvin Pang’s prose collection What Gives Us Our Names is to be translated into French by Anne-Lise Marill. Ask him about the difference between writing poetry and prose at the Singapore Literature Festival in New York (Oct 10 – 12).

“He’d gotten the idea from a book, not unlike the one you last read and loved, whose lurid covers you have already forgotten. For a canvas, he used not his own skin but his very life, spending his days as if he were made up of the most telling bits of other people. To do this, he learned to watch quietly and look deeply , past the busy surfaces until he could discern the colours beneath, the ones that did not change. One by one he would name them as he wove them into his heart in the deep of night. He touched you once, borrowing pieces of your story in passing. They are here still, in case you wish to look.”


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