Boey Kim Cheng's Poetry
Support for studying English GCSE and A Level
Boey Kim Cheng was born in Singapore in 1965. He is often referred to as one of the most promising Singapore poets. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts degrees in English Literature from the National University of Singapore. Boey received the National Arts Council Young Artist Award in 1996.
From 2003 to 2016 (13 years), Boey taught at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He joined Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, in 2016, as an associate professor at its School of Humanities. He was also head of its English department until 2020.
One of Boey Kim Cheng’s biggest literary influences was John Keats, at the age of fourteen. Before this, he was inspired by Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War. Boey’s noted the power of non-fiction stories over fiction. Other early influences were Gerard Manley Hopkins, Wilfred Owen and Edward Thomas.
Boey’s poems are on the A Level syllabus for English literature in Singapore. ‘The Planners’ has appeared on the IGCSE curriculum.
Boey Kim Cheng - 'The Planners' - Annotation
Annotation prompts for Boey Kim Cheng’s ‘The Planners’.
‘The Planners’ is about feelings of displacement and disconnection, because places that would have given a sense of belonging have been destroyed. Themes of place, memory, travel, past, family.
Boey Kim Cheng (1965) – Singapore-born Australian poet, of Chinese descent. Grew disillusioned with state of literary and cultural politics in Singapore and moved to Sydney. Won several poetry prizes and is highly regarded. Lee Tzu Pheng said of him: “I think he’s the finest poet we’ve ever produced. The themes and existentialism of his writing, I’ve never seen anyone in Singapore who could write like that.” Poems reflect sense of restlessness about his life in Singapore, the growth and economic success of which he believes were achieved at a cost.
The annotation prompts are a supportive tool, intended to encourage further analysis and interpretation.