Leong Liew Geok



Leong Liew Geok (b. 1947, Penang, Malaysia1) is a renowned local poet. She was one of the 10 Singaporeans selected for American publisher W. W. Norton’s 2008 international anthology featuring 440 poems by 440 poets.2 The 1998 anthology that Leong edited, More Than Half the Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women, has also been lauded.3

Education and career
Leong obtained her early education in Penang, where she was born. Her academic pursuits subsequently took her to Australia, England and the United States. She studied at the University of Adelaide and La Trobe University in Australia, and obtained a graduate degree in modern English literature at the University of Leicester in England. Leong then earned a doctorate in American literature at the George Washington University in the United States in 1980.4


Leong started teaching at the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore (NUS) the following year.5 She taught there for 21 years before retiring from academia in 2002.6

Poetry
Leong’s writings portray the struggles that modern women face in trying to find a balance between work and their family roles.7 While Leong has said that she is not a feminist, her writings have focused on women’s issues, particularly the demands on a woman in terms of work and family.8


Achievements
Leong’s first poetry collection, Love Is Not Enough (1991), was nominated for a book award by the National Book Development Council in 1992.9 That same year, the publication garnered the highest number of loans among poetry books at Singapore’s public libraries.10

Her anthology, More Than Half the Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women, which took her four years to compile, also attracted rave reviews from the local press when it was published. As the local literary scene then was mainly dominated by men, the anthology was outstanding because it featured 30 female writers such as Stella Kon and Ho Minfong, and included not only poetry but also plays and prose.11 The anthology was subsequently adopted as a literary textbook at both NUS and Nanyang Technological University.12

Leong partnered NUS associate professor Grant Shen in translating text from traditional Chinese to modern English for a Chinese opera sung in English. The result was The West Wing, staged in April 2008 and produced by the Chinese Opera Institute and students from NUS.13 Three years later, Leong edited Literary Singapore: A Directory of Contemporary Writing in Singapore (2011), for the National Arts Council. Her poems have also been published in online magazines and journals such as Softblow and Blue Lyra Review.14

It was reported in 2000 that an architecture student, Soon Yean Tying, had designed a dwelling based on Leong’s expressions of the tension resulting from women’s struggles to find a balance between their personal and work lives. Leong herself was pleasantly surprised by the three-dimensional interpretation of her poetry.15

Family
Leong is married with three children.16

Selected publications
Author
1991: Love Is Not Enough17

2000: Women Without Men18

Editor
1997: Responsibility and Commitment: The Poetry of Edwin Thumboo19
1998: More Than Half the Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women
2003: Complicities – Connections and Divisions: Perspectives on Literatures and Cultures of the Asia-Pacific Region20

Anthologies
1993: S.E. Asia Writes Back!21
1995: Journeys: Words, Home, Nation: Anthology of Singapore Poetry (1984–1995);22 Tributaries: Convergence on an Afternoon of Poetry and Music23
1998: Memories and Desires: A Poetic History of Singapore;24 More than Half the Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women25
2000: No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry;26 Rhythms: A Singapore Millennial Anthology of Poetry = Irama: Antologi Puisi Alaf Singapura27
2002: Love Gathers All: The Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poetry28
2008: Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia29
2009: Writing Singapore: An Historical Anthology of Singapore Literature30
2010: & words: Poems Singapore and Beyond;31 From the Window of the Epoch: An Anthology of Malaysian and Singaporean Poems32
2011: Coast: A Mono-Titular Anthology33
2013: Little Things: An Anthology of Poetry34



Author

O Jiaqing



References
1. Yap, S. (2009, July 5). A voice for women. The Straits Times, p. 58. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Poetry.sg. (n.d.). About Leong Liew Geok. Retrieved from Poetry.sg website: http://www.poetry.sg/poets/leong-liew-geok/
2. Yap, S. (2009, January 18). 10 poets make Norton cut. The Straits Times, p. 68. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Chang, T., Handal, N., & Shankar, R. (Eds). Language for a new century: Contemporary poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and beyond. New York: W. W. Norton. (Call no.: R 808.81 LAN)
3. Yap, S. (2007, April 8). Where are the women? The Straits Times, p. 65. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Koh, B. S. (1991, March 23). Freed verse. The Straits Times, p. 10; Yap, S. (2009, July 5). A voice for women. The Straits Times, p. 58. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.; Poetry.sg. (n.d.). About Leong Liew Geok. Retrieved 2016, August 3 from Poetry.sg website: http://www.poetry.sg/poets/leong-liew-geok/
5. Yap, S. (2009, July 5). A voice for women. The Straits Times, p. 58. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Poetry.sg. (n.d.). About Leong Liew Geok. Retrieved 2016, August 3 from Poetry.sg website: http://www.poetry.sg/poets/leong-liew-geok/
6. Yap, S. (2009, July 5). A voice for women. The Straits Times, p. 58; Koh, B. S. (1991, March 23). Freed verse. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. A house full of tension. (2000, April 19). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Koh, B. S. (1991, March 23). Women’s whirl. The Straits Times, p. 10; Yap, S. (2009, July 5). A voice for women. The Straits Times, p. 58. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Forum on Malaysian, Singapore writing. (1994, July 23). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Koh, B. S. (1993, January 23). Popular books at libraries. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Ong, S. F. (1997, April 24). Voices of 30 women writers set to roar. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Yap, S. (2007, April 8). Where are the women? The Straits Times, p. 65. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Sariwati Latif. (2008, April 3). Chinese opera gets extreme makeover. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Leong Liew Geok. (n.d.). Softblow. Retrieved 2016, August 3 from Softblow website: http://www.softblow.org/leongliewgeok.html; Leong Liew Geok. (2014, August 9). Blue Lyra Review, 3.5. Retrieved 2016, August 3 from Blue Lyra Review website: http://bluelyrareview.com/leong-liew-geok/
15. A house full of tension. (2000, April 19). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Yap, S. (2009, July 5). A voice for women. The Straits Times, p. 58. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Koh, B. S. (1991, March 23). Freed verse. The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Leong, L. G. (2000). Women without men. Singapore: Times Book International. (Call no.: RSING S821 LEO)
19. Ee, T. H., & Leong, L. G. (Ed). Responsibility and commitment: The poetry of Edwin Thumboo. Singapore: Singapore University Press. (Call no.: RSING S821.09 EE)
20. Sankaran, C., Leong, L. G., & Patke, R. S. (Eds.). (2003). Complicities – connections and divisions: Perspectives on literature and cultures of the Asia-Pacific region. New York: Bern; P. Lang. (Call no.: R 809.895 COM)
21. S.E. Asia Writes Back! (1993). London: Skoob Books. (Call no.: RSING 809.8959 SOU)
22. Thumboo, E., et al. (Eds.). (1995). Journeys: Words, home and nation: Anthology of Singapore poetry (1984–1995). Singapore: UniPress. (Call no.: RSING S821 JOU)
23. Boey, K. C., et al. (1995). Tributaries: Convergence on an afternoon of poetry & music. Singapore: Creative Writing Club, Raffles Junior College. (Call no.: RSING S821 TRI)
24. Goh, R. B. H. (1998). Memories and desires: A poetic history of Singapore. Singapore: UniPress. (Call no.: RSING 808.8 MEM)
25. Leong, S. G. (Ed.). (1998). More than Half the Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women. Singapore: Times Books International. (Call no.: RSING S828.99597 MOR)
26. Pang, A., & Lee, A. (Eds.). (2000). No other city: The ethos anthology of urban poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books. (Call no.: RSING S821 NO)
27. Singh, K., & Wong, Y. W. (2000). Rhythms: A Singaporean millennial anthology of poetry = Irama: Antologi puisi alaf Singapura. Singapore: National Arts Council. (Call no.: RSING S821 RHY)
28. Sunic, R. C. et al. (Eds.). Love Gathers All: The Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books; Manila: Anvil Pub. (Call no.: RSING 821.00803543 LOV)
29. Kinselle, J., & Pang, A. (2008). Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia. Singapore: Ethos Books. (Call no.: RSING 808.81 OVE)
30. Poon, A., Holden, P., & Lim, S. G-L. (2009). Writing Singapore: An Historical Anthology of Singapore Literature. Singapore: NUS Press: National Arts Council Singapore. (Call no.: RSING S820.8 WRI)
31. Thumboo, E. (2010). & words: Poems Singapore and Beyond. Singapore: Ethos Books. (Call no.: YRSING S821 WOR)
32. Dari jendela zaman ini = From the window of this epoch. (2010). Kuala Lumpur: Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia. (Call no.: Malay R 899.281 DAR)
33. Shiau, D., & Lee, W. F. (2011). Coast. Singapore: Math Paper Press. (Call no.: RSING S820.8 COA)
34. Loh, C. E., Poon, A., & Vincent, E. (Eds.). (2013). Little Things: An Anthology of Poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books. (Call no.: RSING S821 LIT)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Women poets--Biography
Writers
Leong, Liew Geok, 1947-
Award winners--Singapore--Biography
Language and literature>>Poetry>>English poetry
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors