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Poetry General

How Festive the Ambulance

by (author) Kim Fu

Nightwood Editions
Initial publish date
May 2016
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2016
    List Price

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In this debut poetry collection by award-winning author Kim Fu, incantations, mythical creatures and extreme violence illuminate small scenes of domestic life and the banal tragedies of modern love and modern death.


A sharp edge of humour slices through Fu's poetry, drawing attention to the distance between contemporary existence and the basic facts of life: "In the classrooms of tomorrow, starved youth will be asked to imagine a culture that kept thin pamphlets of poetry pinned to a metal box full of food, who honoured their gods of plenty by describing ingredients in lush language."


Alternating between incisive wit and dark beauty, Fu brings the rich symbolism of fairy tales to bear on our image-obsessed age. From "The Unicorn Princess": "She applies gold spray paint to her horn each morning, / hoping to imitate the brass tusks / on the unicorns skewered to the carousel, / their brittle, painted smiles, harnesses / embedded in their backs and shellacked to high gloss." These poems are utterly of-the-moment, capturing the rage, irony and isolation of the era we live in.

About the author

KIM FU is a graduate of The University of British Columbia’s MFA program in creative writing. She has written poetry, essays and long-form journalism for NPR, the National Post, Ms. Magazine, Maisonneuve, The Tyee, The Rumpus, Vancouver Magazine, Grain Magazine, Room and The New Quarterly, among others. Her work has been anthologized in Best Canadian Essays and nominated for three National Magazine Awards. For Today I Am A Boy, her debut novel, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Kim is the news columns editor for This, a magazine of progressive politics now in its 47th year.

Kim Fu's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Fu's playful, lyrical, and cutting, debut poetry collection is a dizzying display of styles and scope. Its voice is both consistent and utterly brilliant across five distinct sections. The book is eminently quotable and shockingly accomplished. Everything within warrants praise, and "Salt", "Small Rooms in the Land of the Dead", "July," and "Lifecycle of the Mole-woman" are particular highlights.”

Publishers Weekly (US)

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