Ho Poh Fun



Ho Poh Fun (b. 1946, Singapore – d. 12 March 2018, Singapore) was a poet and writer.1 Her poetry collection, Katong and Other Poems, was published in 1994.2

Early life
Ho was educated at Tanjong Katong Girls’ School and then Raffles Institution3 before becoming a teacher at Raffles Junior College.4 She received a master’s degree in English from the National University of Singapore in 1987.5

Literary career
Ho’s fiction, a short story called “When the Tabebuia Bloomed at Soo Chow Gardens”, first appeared in Tanjong Rhu and Other Stories – a collection of four award-winning titles from the 1982 Short Story Writing Competition organised by the former Ministry of Culture.6

The same piece was later also published in The Fiction of Singapore,7 while another of Ho’s stories, “Guest”, was featured in Inthanon: An Anthology of Short Stories.8

Her poems have been anthologised in collections such as Rhythms: A Millennial Anthology of Poetry,9 Love Gathers All: A Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poems,10 Journeys: Words, Home and Nation,11 Singapore: Places, Poems, Paintings,12 Memories and Desires: A Poetic History of Singapore13 and No Other City: An Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry.14

Ho’s collection of poems Katong and Other Poems (1994) won the National Book Development Council of Singapore’s Commendation Award for poetry in 1996.15

Literary style and influences
Lauded as complex and full of possibilities, Ho’s works showcase the diversity of life with her subdued yet refined sensibility. Her writing style, described to be neat and uncluttered, speaks of her awareness and of the tension that lies beneath the surface. Poems such as “Chrysanthemum”, “Thoughtscapes Singapore” and “Transitional” (found in Katong and Other Poems) are considered landmarks in Singapore poetry.16


Her influences included T. S. Eliot, Gerald Manley Hopkins, E. O. Wilson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Pablo Neruda, Natalie Angier, Thomas Friedman and Daniel Dennett. Ho enjoyed works with cultural, botanical and biological themes.17



Author
Alvin Chua




References
1. Thumboo, E., et al. (Eds.). (1995). Journeys: Words, home and nation: Anthology of Singapore poetry (1984–1995). Singapore: UniPress, p. 468. (Call no.: RSING S821 JOU); Ho, O. (2018, March 13). Singaporean poet and teacher Ho Poh Fun dies. Retrieved 2018, May 23 from Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/singaporean-poet-and-teacher-ho-poh-fun-dies
2. Ho, P. F. (1994). Katong and other poems. Singapore: UniPress. (Call no.: RSING S821 HO)
3. Thumboo, E., et al. (Eds.). (1995). Journeys: Words, home and nation: Anthology of Singapore poetry (1984-1995). Singapore: UniPress, p. 468. (Call no.: RSING S821 JOU)
4. Ho, P. F., et al. (Eds.) (1995). Tributaries: Convergence on an afternoon of poetry & music. Singapore: Creative Writing Club, Raffles Junior College. (Call no.: RSING S821 TRI)
5. Thumboo, T., et al. (Eds.). (1990). The fiction of Singapore. Singapore: ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, p. 1259. (Call no.: RSING S823.008 FIC)
6. Ho, M. F., et al. (1986). Tanjong Rhu and other stories. Singapore: Federal Publications, back cover. (Call no.: RSING S823.01 TAN)
7. Thumboo, T., et al. (Eds.). (1990). The fiction of Singapore. Singapore: ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, pp. 1090–1098. (Call no.: RSING S823.008 FIC)
8. Khunying Maenmas Chavalit. (Ed.). (1997). Inthanon: An anthology of short stories. Bangkok: ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information, pp. 153–171. (Call no.: RSEA 808.831 INT)
9. Singh, K., et al. (Eds.). (2000). Rhythms: A Singaporean millennial anthology of poetry. Singapore: National Arts Council, pp. 206–207. (Call no.: RSING S821 RHY)
10. Sunico, R. C., et al. (2002). Love gathers all: The Philippines-Singapore anthology of love poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books; Manila: Anvil Pub., p. 71. (Call no.: RSING 821.00803543 LOV)
11. Thumboo, E., et al. (Eds.). (1995). Journeys: Words, home and nation: Anthology of Singapore poetry (1984–1995). Singapore: UniPress, pp. 55–60. (Call no.: RSING S821 JOU)
12. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1998). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Raffles Editions, pp. 90–92. (Call no.: RSING 700.95957 SIN)
13. Goh, R. B. H. (Ed.). (1998). Memories and desires: A poetic history of Singapore. Singapore: UniPress, pp. 40–41. (Call no.: RSING 808.8 MEM)
14. Pang, A., & Lee, A. (Eds.). (2000). No other city: The ethos anthology of urban poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books, pp. 57–59. (Call no.: RSING S821 NO)
15. Sunico, R. C., et al. (2002). Love gathers all: the Philippines-Singapore anthology of love poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books; Manila: Anvil Pub., pp. 201–202. (Call no.: RSING 821.00803543 LOV)
16. Lee, P. T. (1996). Foreword. In P. F. Ho, Katong and Other Poems. Singapore: UniPress, p. xiv. (Call no.: RSING S821 HO)
17. Sunico, R. C., et al. (2002). Love gathers all: The Philippines-Singapore anthology of love poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books; Manila: Anvil Pub., pp. 201–202. (Call no.: RSING 821.00803543 LOV); Pang, A., & Lee, A. (Eds.). (2000). No other city: The ethos anthology of urban poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books, p. 194. (Call no.: RSING S821 NO)



The information in this article is valid as at 2018 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.

 

Ho, O. (2018, March 13). Singaporean poet and teacher Ho Poh Fun dies. Retrieved 2018, May 23 from Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/arts/singaporean-poet-and-teacher-ho-poh-fun-dies

 

Subject
Women poets--Singapore--Biography
Ho, Poh Fun, 1946-
Writers
Women authors--Singapore--Biography
Language and literature>>Literatures>>English literatures>>English poetry
Language and literature>>Literatures>>East and Southeast Asian literature>>Singapore literature
Personalities>>Biographies>>Authors