Through poems that celebrate the overlooked beauty in the everyday or that mourn human incursions upon the natural world, Fiona Tinwei Lam weaves polythematic threads into a shimmering tapestry that reveals the complexities of being human in an environment under threat. Inspired by Pablo Neruda's ELEMENTAL ODES, this wide-ranging and diverse collection plays with the yin and yang of everyday existence, employing lyricism, narrative, humour and an occasional dash of irreverence and fun through visual play with text and typography.
About the author
Fiona Tinwei Lam is a Scottish-born, Vancouver-based writer whose work has appeared in literary magazines across the country, as well as in the Globe & Mail, and anthologies in Canada, the US and Hong
Kong. Her work has also been featured as part of B.C.'s Poetry in Transit program. Her book of poetry, Intimate Distances (Nightwood 2002), was a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award. Twice short-listed for the Event literary non-fiction contest, she is a co-editor of and contributor to the anthology of personal essays, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood (McGill-Queens University Press, 2008). Her work will also be appearing in Best Canadian Poetry 2010 (Tightrope Books, 2010), edited by Lorna Crozier. Her most recent collection of poetry, Enter the Chrysanthemum (Caitlin, 2009), depicts the journey into single parenthood, exploring themes of family, love and loss. She is a former lawyer.
'Fiona Tinwei Lam's ODES & LAMENTS is a collection of poems that speak with lyrical eloquence of the beauty of a world under threat. A wry wit weaves itself through this collection, leavening the poems of lament with poems of praise, sometimes surprising the reader with exuberant forays across the page in the form of concrete poems. But even in the playful moments there is seriousness, and even in the laments there is the deep consolation of a focussed and intelligent attention. 'As the world smoulders,' writes Tinwei Lam, 'let each poem be/a fallen tree's tongue.' As the world transforms, these odes and laments in their concentrated attentiveness are love songs to the fragile, ordinary, vanishing objects and beings of this fraught time.'' --Rachel Rose
''The poems in Fiona Tinwei Lam's latest collection, ODES & LAMENTS, are both sharp and rich, brimming with insight and optimism. While the collection spans the spectrum from the lyric to the concrete, these poems always seem to cohere, always find a place, always intertwine and interconnect. ODES & LAMENTS is an excellent book! And one that I am excited to return to again and again.'' --Jordan Abel