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Poems for Quiet Mornings

quiet mornings cherilyn ong humairah jamil singapore literature booktique

BooksYouth features

Meet Cherilyn Lim and Humairah Jamil, and their new poetry book, 'Quiet Mornings'.

The beauty of poetry lies in its ability to express nothing and everything all at once. 

On Jan 30, two new authors, Cherilyn Lim and Humairah Jamil, held a book launch for their first ever poetry book, Quiet Mornings. 

Youth.SG popped by to have a quick chat with them.

Cherilyn and Humairah, both 24, graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) last year. Their passion for writing stemmed from reading a plethora of books and novels in their childhood.

"I mostly read Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and got a hand on my mother's classical books. Naturally, this progressed into a flare for writing," reminisced Cherilyn.

Humairah, who is currently an English teacher, added: "It was the same for me; I grew up surrounded by books and my library was like my second home. My mother taught me how to read and she was such an inspiration to me. I read a lot of classical books too by Jane Austen and Alexandre Dumas."

quiet mornings cherilyn ong humairah jamil singapore literature booktique 
HUMAIRAH (LEFT) AND CHERILYN (RIGHT) WITH THEIR NEW BOOK.

The two first met each other in their media studies course in Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), and went to NTU together following their graduation. 

For budding writers, sharing poems can be a tricky subject. It is common for one to keep their writing to themselves than sharing it with others. However, that was not the case for the two friends.

"When you show your writing to someone else, you feel vulnerable. When others critique your work, they discount your feelings. That's why when I met Humairah, I felt like I found a kindred spirit," said mass communications graduate Cherilyn.

After attaining their degrees in April 2015, they worked on Quiet Mornings while finding for jobs for half a year.

The 45 poems in the book, centred on the theme of leaving, are influenced by their personal experiences and memories. "It was actually an accident; we compiled a list of poems and we thought this theme was an undercurrent throughout. It's a universal concept that everyone understands," said Cherilyn, who currently works as a communications executive at Singapore Polytechnic.

quiet mornings cherilyn ong humairah jamil singapore literature booktique 
THE DUO EVEN SANG ONE OF THEIR POEMS DURING THEIR BOOK LAUNCH, HELD AT BOOKTIQUE.

For linguistics graduate Humairah, writing the poems helped her preserve precious moments while coping with the loss of her loved ones.

"I lost my grandmother, and recently I lost my mother too. Cherilyn too, just lost her grandmother. These strengthened our resolve to make this book happen. When I wrote poems, I felt like they helped me to get through this. Now that the book is here, it feels like comforting words to me. I never realised how words are so powerful,” said Humairah, who started collaborating with Cherilyn in Aug 2014.

quiet mornings cherilyn ong humairah jamil singapore literature booktique 
THE LOSS OF THEIR LOVED ONES STRENGTHENED THEIR RESOLVE TO PUBLISH THIS BOOK.

How was the publishing process like?

"We were actually very clueless, but we went with the flow. We mostly did everything ourselves, from writing, illustrating, to sending this to printers," said Cherilyn, who designed the book's layouts with InDesign.

Publishing a book costs money, but this was not the main concern for both Humairah and Cherilyn. 

"We kept the budget to the minimum. We didn't choose expensive paper and we only printed 30 copies. In the future, we'll probably sell more. Money is not something you chase from writing books – to us it was all about getting the book out there and realising that dream," said Humairah, who is currently into general fiction like Haruki Murakami and Jodi Picoult.

When asked for a quote to describe this book, this was their answer: "In the absence there is presence and in the nights there are mornings".

Quiet Mornings is available via pre-order here.