Stepping into meaning with "Iskandar J in his studio" : Analysing the poetry of Edwin Thumboo

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)22_Publication in policy or professional journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-298
Journal / PublicationAsiatic
Issue number2
Online published15 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


Drawing on Edwin Thumboo's poem, "Iskandar J in His Studio," I illustrate our methodology for investigating meaning which is based on M.A.K. Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistic theory. A systemic-functional perspective, with its emphasis on the semogenic ("meaning-making") power of language, provides the ideal handle for investigating Thumboo's poetry as not only an intentional act of meaning but also as a work of art. A poem, like any other text, is the complex realisation of three kinds of meaning: ideational, interpersonal and textual. Ideational meaning has to do with how we construe our world of experience. Interpersonal meaning has to do with how we use language to relate to those with whom we are speaking. Textual meaning concerns what gives texture to a text. The more cohesive and coherent the text, the greater is its texture.

Research Area(s)

  • Creativity, Ideational, Interpersonal, Meaning, Systemic-functional, Textual