National poetry month: Stop press

RainOn the last day of National Poetry Month, I pay homage to a local Singaporean poet Alvin Pang whom I admire very much. Below is a poem found in his second volume “City of Rain” where he moans about the state of the news industry and how it perpetuates certain stereotypes. As a media practitioner, I found myself relating to some of his sentiments, so let me know in the comments box about what do you think.

Stop Press

What you read between the lines in our last
edition, after the world’s been whittled
down to column length, is how much rage,
breath and ink it took to fend death off, and fail:
Our little rag that got preyed on page by page.

All those eyeballs drawn to glamour
in the bland newscape. The day we died,
the story goes, a gun went off in Cyprus,
one woman lost her sight. Grief
was on the wires, but not for us.

After all, the presses are still running
somewhere, churning colour into words
and paper continues to flow like so much water
under the bridge. It’s human nature
to let things slide, leave for later

What won’t fit on the page today,
not fuss with ideals and intentions,
but keep things as they are:
Better let the pages go out now
than think we’d ever come this far.

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4 thoughts on “National poetry month: Stop press

  1. Hey, I really enjoyed this poem. I’m from Trinidad and somebody remarked the other day that they don’t hear a lot of political poems, and it was refreshing for me to hear someone express sentiments like these. Thank you for your post.

  2. “It’s human nature/to let things slide, leave for later/What won’t fit on the page today…” This part of the poem reminds of my first internship. I couldn’t believe how many stories weren’t being told because of the amount of space allotted to advertising.

    1. Yeah, there’s a lot give and take in the media industry because at the end of the day it is still a business with profit considerations.

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