The Substation Love Letters Project was initiated in an effort to merge literature and graphic design, and for The Substation to connect with the community through new forms of literary art. Each year, 12 writers were invited to contribute a poem each, responding to a theme based on aspects of love. The poems were revealed one at a time, as monthly love letters, and were produced as a series of free, limited edition postcards and presented on a specially designed microsite. Curated by the poet, Cyril Wong, throughout all five series of postcards, the project was launched in 2010 and ended its run in July 2015.


The technique of letterpress is an antiquarian form of printing, once dominant for over 500 years, but is now, an artisanal method of putting word to paper. For this edition of The Substation Love Letters Project, it is apt that this technique is married with the finery of poetry and the romanticised form of the postcard, the love letter.


 With the help of Southeast Asia’s only traditional letterpress printing studio, Typesettingsg, a new poem – the final resolution to the many works that came before – is overprinted on cards from the past series of love letters. Each postcard is handprinted; as imperfect as it is unique, as timeworn as it is of the present times.



Silent keys beside a broken lock

inside a drawer

jutting forth like a past lover’s

jaw, filling with the unsaid

or echoes of something more;

the biggest room smells of sweat

if you press your cheek to the floor, that hypnotic scent

of bodies parting slowly after a dance;

if this building is empty, it isn’t

for long, as the wind slips in

with a surgeon’s precision

through another window hanging

open by its rusted hinges like a half-

closed wound; not empty,

but a plenitude, a relief, however

temporary, those beams

shivering discreetly across the ceiling

before the long day withdraws its fingers

of daylight from walls, stairs, worn

cheeks of cupboards and the floor

that might never relinquish its fragrances,

its ghosts and secrets still tanging the evening air.


– Cyril Wong