Poet and novelist Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé dribbled his way past China’s Changming Yuan and scored!Except this time it’s not with an adidas ball, but rather an elegant poem, at the Poetry World Cup 2014 organized by The Missing Slate, that riffs off the ongoing world’s football extravaganza.

Singapore is through after the 1st round, a feat even the mighty Spanish can’t achieve. The win prompted organizer Jacob Silkstone to write in the post-event report: “Singapore recorded one of the highest scores of the Poetry World Cup so far and announced themselves as serious contenders for the overall title.”

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Desmond’s winning entry was a prose poem, titled “gǎn qíng yòng shì :: impulsive and impetuous”. No alien to accolades, Desmond’s various honors  include the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, among others.The inaugural writer-in-residence at Gardens by the Bay will be launching his novel, Singular Acts of Endearment, as well as a poetry collection at this year’s Singapore Writers Festival. Advance praise for his novel has been glowing with Elliott Cades Award Recipient Frank Stewart saying: “Here’s narrative by a true storyteller, who cares about the reader as well as the characters he creates, who dares to be as moved by their lives as we are.”

On his chances at clinching the top spot, Desmond says: “In a tournament like this, the fun and joy reside in the readers, and how they take to each poem. Everyone will interpret and appreciate a poem in his or her own distinct way, and there lies the magic of the game. The readers do the deciding as to which poem should make it through each round, and eventually grab the gold. I love it completely that I’m waving the flag for Singapore. I couldn’t be happier about it.”

Poetry World Cup 2014 brings together 32 authors from 32 countries from as far as Denmark, Russia, Pakistan and Finland, among others. There are 2 rounds that decide who gains entry into the quarters, semis, and finals.  Singapore will meet Cyprus in what is expected to be a close fight.

Desmond has the last words on his strategy (or not) for the next round: “I would like to share some grand master plan, but there’s no strategy to this really. The readers’ votes make up the ultimate decision, so I’ll let the cards fall where they may. I take it as a good sign that in the first round, Singapore knocked out China by 49 points, very poignant given our upcoming 49th National Day. So, maybe it’s the groundswell of good old patriotism that could save the day. If we make it to the Quarter Finals, I’ll treat myself to satay and beer at Ang Mo Kio.”

Somebody gives this Singaporean homeboy a Tiger.

Additional Info:

Round Two is scheduled on July 1.Viewers get to read both poems, and click to register their choice. Voting for the match will only open around 3.30pm (Singapore Time) on the day, and close 24 hours later. Visit the Poetry World Cup 2014 page at The Missing Slate: http://themissingslate.com/2014/06/11/poetry-world-cup-2014/