In this workshop, occult poet Marylyn Tan explores the relationship between ritual and poetry. In much of folk magic and other occult practices, incantations, prayers, hymns and other uses of language are employed to pinpoint desire and manifest change. How can we write a poem that may make our worlds shift towards creating something we desire, or emancipate us from what traps us, no matter how small? Participants will be called upon to create their own occult poetry through writing exercises, sharing with each other in conversation throughout the workshop.


  • To explore what makes a poem ritualistic or incantatory
  • To explore practical uses of language in magical tradition
  • To experiment with creating a poem that attempts to change reality

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the interplay between art and magic
  • Unlearning personal bias about what is and isn't poetry
  • Learning new techniques, form, structure, and ways of imagining poetry

Programme Itinerary

  • Introduction of participants and sharing of perspectives (15 mins)
  • Theoretical sharing of art and magic (20 mins)
  • Writing Exercise 1 (10 mins)
  • Sharing (10 mins)
  • 5 min Break
  • Writing Exercise 2 (10 mins)
  • Sharing (10 mins)
  • Writing Exercise 3: Writing a full poem/spell/ritual (20 mins)
  • Sharing + Conclusion (20 mins)

Programme Details:

Date: 28 October 2023, Saturday
Time: 2.00 - 4.00 pm
Venue: SBC Training Room, Goodman Arts Centre,
Blk E, #03-32 

About trainer:

Marylyn Tan is a linguistics graduate, poet, and artist who has been performing since 2014. She is invested in building community, and emancipating the marginalised, alienated, endangered body. Her first title, GAZE BACK (Ethos Books; Lambda Literary Awards 2019 loser), is the trans-genre Singaporean lesbo grimoire you never knew you needed.

About Gaze Back:

Winner of the Singapore Literature Prize (Poetry 2020)

What do we expect of an author who is unapologetically female? What do we expect of consuming art in general? Should a work be easy, should a work be safe?

Marylyn Tan’s debut volume, GAZE BACK, complicates ideas of femininity, queerness, and the occult. The feminine grotesque subverts the restrictions placed upon the feminine body to be attractive and its subjection to notions of the ideal. The occultic counterpoint to organised religion, then, becomes a way toward techniques of empowering the marginalised.

GAZE BACK, ultimately, is an instruction book, a grimoire, a call to insurrection—to wrest power back from the social structures that serve to restrict, control and distribute it amongst those few privileged above the disenfranchised.


The programme can be cancelled or postponed two weeks before the programme date if the minimum number of participants is not met. Participants will be fully refunded for workshops cancelled by us.

Participants who are unable to attend a workshop they have registered for are to inform us of the reason two weeks before the workshop date. They will be fully refunded in the event of extenuating and mitigating circumstances (E.g. illness, bereavement, accidents) . Those who inform us up to 5 working days before the workshop date will receive a 50% refund. Those who did not turn up at the workshop will not receive a refund.

Upon registration, you are deemed to have read and understood the cancellation and withdrawal policy and accept the terms contained therein.