Faisal Tehrani on Kulleh Grasi

A quick note to point out an extraordinary review by Faisal Tehrani of Tell Me, Kenyalang in Malaysia Now. Tehrani is one of Malaysia’s most important contemporary writers. The review’s in Malay, but Pauline Fan has translated a few excerpts:

“There are some astonishing aspects to Kulleh’s work that I fell in love with immediately. I sense that Kulleh’s modern poems have deep roots in his world and identity.”
“Many poets from the Peninsula seem to me detached, distant, lethargic. They do not play with traditional poetry in their work. At times it feels like they are grasping. Kulleh is different. He creates from Leka Main, the root of Iban folk poetry.”
“Reading Tell Me, Kenyalang is like being welcomed as guests in a long house, eagerly waiting to see whether we will be invited to join a ‘miring’ or ‘biau’ ceremony (rituals performed with the accompaniment of incantations), until we are lulled into a trance between utterances of ‘sampi’.”
“Kulleh is the most noteworthy young poet of this decade. What’s even more remarkable is that Kulleh is a Malaysian poet, choosing to write in the national language with patches of dialect and local languages; this makes him a poet who is truly unique and exceptional.”

Circumference EditorsJune 25, 2021