Boey Kim Cheng


Boey Kim Cheng is the author of five collections of poems, a travel memoir entitled Between Stations, and a novel about the life of the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu, Gull Between Heaven and Earth. He is also the editor, with Adam Aitken and Michelle Cahill, of Contemporary Asian Australian Poets. A recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award, Boey emigrated from Singapore to Australia in 1997 and taught creative writing at the University of Newcastle before joining Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

For an adult migrant who has spent half his life in his country of birth, the life in the new country can at times feel like an old story that is being revised or rewritten, rather than a new chapter or book waiting to be written. In the first few years of my settling down in Sydney, I had the impression that the life I had left behind in Singapore was still somehow continuing, that some doppelganger was in my place, living the life I had decamped from, while I was reliving the past in a new life and country. It was supposed to be a clean slate, a fresh start, yet there were many moments that felt like déjà vu, where I was encountering the past anew, remembering the old places in new ones, experiencing the feel of the old and lost home in an elsewhere that I must now call home. I couldn’t say the word home without stabs of uneasiness and guilt.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard