Jee Leong Koh's New Poetry Release: Connor & Seal

Jee Leong Koh's New Poetry Release: Connor & Seal

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

KHN Alumnx (2005) Jee Leong Koh, writer / poet, has announced his new book of poems has been released.  Connor & Seal: A Harlem Story in 47 Poems was released by Sibling Rivalry Press in March 2020. According to Jee, some of the poems were directly inspired by his KHN residency. Due to COVID-19, there were delays in some of the promotional events and timing, but he is excited to announce the book is now available to order.

Per the book's press website: "Inspired by Rita Dove's groundbreaking Thomas and Beulah, Connor & Seal is a masterful queering of poetic lineage. With oracular grace and whimsy, these poems innovate the public and private axes of gay love in a tumescent future. We meet Connor, a native Nebraskan and fledgling grant writer, and Seal, a financial analyst from Kingston, Jamaica, as they flummox the space between desire and demise."

“What are the routes, routines, and disruptions for eros in an all too recognizable dystopia? I feel burnt and humbled by entering the near future hotly projected in this book. Jee Leong Koh’s Audenesque gift for tilting and tipping rhyme and meter creates a craquelure of lines upon these poems’ fine and strong shapes. The fierce sun of his intelligence intervenes to vivify neighbourhood and lovers’ voices in our exposed, technologically-reckoned yet still-reckless world." - Vahni Capildeo FRSL

Connor & Seal is an oddly erotic book that imagines a dim future in which violence is the expectation. And yet, it is still a future where two men—despite every obstacle—still can fall in love. Jee Leong Koh finds new and fruitful use for the quatrain in this brilliant and brilliantly grounded volume." - Jericho Brown

Jee Leong Koh is a poet, publisher, and the founder/organizer of Singapore Unbound, a NYC-based literary non-profit striving for "Freedom of Expression and Equal Rights for All." He is Editor-In-Chief of Gaudy Boy, a press associated with Singapore Unbound. He was raised in Singapore and currently lives in New York. Koh's work "uses the rigidity of form to contain poetry that otherwise knows no bounds: love, sex and selfhood are all exposed, and equally explored." His book, Steep Tea, was named a Best Book of the Year in 2015 by UK’s Financial Times. It was also a finalist for the 28th Lambda Literary Awards in the Gay Poetry category. The book engages with canonical female writers like Elizabeth Bishop and Eavan Boland while exploring "how being in a new place renders him critical of his past but also awakens his true identity." Sections from The Pillow Book, a collection of zuihitsu, have been anthologized in Starry Island: New Writing from Singapore. The Pillow Book was also shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize.

Congratulations, Jee!