Living Under Plastic represents a major departure from the author's previous poetry books. Instead of the obsessive focus on relationships and emotional damage that has characterized much of her earlier work, this book opens up to explore new subjects: family history, illness, death and dying, consumerism, and the natural world. In a tone that is often elegiac, without ever being maudlin, these poems are steeped in immortality and loss. Haunted by the pull of the past, there is strength of character and a sense of affirmation in all of these poems. While grounded in travel and in place, the tone is surprisingly meditative and contemplative.
Evelyn Lau was born in Vancouver in 1971. She is the author of four volumes of poetry, two works of non-fiction, two short story collections and a novel. Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid, published when she was 18, was a Canadian best seller and was made into a CBC movie starring Sandra Oh in her first major role. Lau's prose books have been translated into a dozen languages worldwide. You Are Not Who You Claim won the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award; Oedipal Dreams was nominated for the Governor-General's Award. Her work has appeared in over a hundred literary magazines, garnering four Western Magazine Awards and a National Magazine Award. She has also won the Air Canada Award for Most Promising Writer and the Vantage Women of Originality Award. Her poems have been included in the Best American Poetry and Best Canadian Poetry series. She has read from and discussed her work at literary festivals and universities around the world; she presently freelances as a mentor to aspiring writers through UBC's booming Ground and SFU's Writing and Publishing Program.