Shawn Hoo is a writer and editor from Singapore. His poems are anthologised in New Singapore Poetries (Gaudy Boy, forthcoming) and can be found in New Delta Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Queer Southeast Asia, Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, OF ZOOS, and elsewhere. His translations appear in the Journal of Practice, Research and Tangential Activities (PR&TA) and Exchanges: Journal of Literary Translation. He is Assistant Editor at Asymptote, where he curates the Translation Tuesdays showcase. Shawn received his BA in Literature from Yale-NUS College and a fellowship at NYU Shanghai. Of the Florids, a five-time contest finalist which won the 2021 Diode Editions Chapbook Prize, is his debut chapbook.
Portrait Courtesy of Victoria Oliha, Photographer
Of the Florids
Tapirus Indicus . . . Dugong Dugon . . . Cicadoidea . . .
Of the Florids begins with an inability to speak of the natural world in the urban fortress of Singapore; a tropical island’s fading romanticism for a city boy. Unrooting the lyricism of an archive that sprawls across natural history drawings ordered by British colonists, wartime reports on animals in Japan, queer myths of the Rabbit God and the miracles of modern landscaping—the book teems with its own polyphonic, multispecies world where place can once again be enchanted. The map of the Florids start to materialise and grow like a defiant root system: even as it feeds on the soil of history, it too speculates and twists according to its own ebullient, baroque music.