Evelyn Lau's new book of poems, A Grain of Rice, picks up on some of the themes she covered in her last wonderful book, Living Under Plastic. Once again she honours people, in particular family, and the past; the presence and importance of nature in urban spaces; the influence of other writers on her life and in her career as a writer. A Grain of Rice includes a passionateEvelyn Lau's new book of poems, A Grain of Rice, picks up on some of the themes she covered in her last wonderful book, Living Under Plastic. Once again she honours people, in particular family, and the past; the presence and importance of nature in urban spaces; the influence of other writers on her life and in her career as a writer. A Grain of Rice includes a passionate suite of poems that pay tribute to John Updike's life and work (he is the writer who has most influenced her writing career). Many of the poems in A Grain of Rice, her sixth book of poetry, are haunted by the deaths of friends and family. They explore cultural history, stories in the news, travel and places, especially the relationship between home and our nomadic inclinations. In many respects the book is a meditation on loss. Grief and aging, family history, an attention to place. poems on local urban social issues; poems that seek and find their inspiration in Asian culture and literature all form a tapestry of faces that simultaneously defy and embrace the inevitable and celebrate the transformational....
|Title||:||A Grain of Rice|
|Number of Pages||:||91 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
A Grain of Rice Reviews
a fine example of making use of all the senses.
This was the first book I read of Evelyn Lau and what a great place to start. I won the book through the First Read giveaways and am so thankful for getting. Thank-you Oolichan Press for giving me the opportunity for such a day of contemplative pleasure. Lau's A Grain of Rice is a collection of many separate poems exploring different themes, but I found it to be one long contemplation on mortality. She captures it's fragility so well. One of my favourites, a shout out to John Updike, is "Thinking of U(pdike)". These are the lines, part way through that stood out, "Even this one life, said to be over in a day, // holds space that stretches to the horizon. / Abundance, then a harvest of loss — // berries in a bowl, plucked from an orchard / sagging with fruit, then fires // sweeping across the sky above Kelowna." She captures place, and all the emotions experiencing it with a delicate brevity that slices through to truth like a knife. A thoroughly enjoyable escape into a book while being in the world.
An excellent way to start off a new year!
Re-read before catching up with the author's latest, Tumour.
I have been re reading poetry by Evelyn Lau. Have you ever heard of her? She lived on the Vancouver streets since age 14, homeless, bulimic, a prostitute to fuel her drug use. (Her traditional immigrant Chinese family wanted her to be a doctor, and rejected her creativity. She was victimized at school for her race and oddness, so she ran away). Her family disowned her. They never reconciled. At 18 she published Runaway- Diary of a Street Kid, to critical acclaim. It is a frank and gritty account of the life she led and very shocking but excellent.She had a long association with Child Services and somehow, probably due to her creativity, she survived all of this. Of interest, she later had a long-term affair with WP Kinsella (Field of Dreams/ Shoeless Joe/ Smoke Signals) who was 30 years her senior and a professor at UVictoria, B.C., Canada. She is now 44 yrs. and has been working in the Creative Writing department at SFU and sporadically publishing. . She has since done mostly poetry and I have all her stuff. Anyway, there are a couple of her poems I thought that I would share with you. Her honesty in dealing with her eating disorder is commendable (A Grain of Rice), as is her adult ability to discuss the sad collision of her adult life experiences with her former life on the street (The #4 Bus), and her alienation from her family and her culture (Frozen). I would reccommend her highly.
Divided in four sections, Evelyn Lau's latest collection presents us the poet at middle age. She is keenly aware of both the positive energies of love and creativity, but the shadow of death seem everywhere--an entire section devoted to Updike, the lost parents, the past lovers. No longer the runaway adolescent, this book presents a poet near the top of her game.
Today on the seawall, the wind sprayingmy clothes with stars of salt, the oceanboiling to a cream froth around blue rocks,I remember that a man drowned in English Bay,swimming off one of the rusty freighters,striking out for this golden shore -what a paradise this must have seemed to him,our soft sloping mountains and clean wide sidewalks,a dream of heaven he reached for and reached foruntil the freezing waters swept his body ashore.- Fortune, pg. 11* * *In Summerland, the hours of silence are long.Even this one life, said to be over in a day,holds space that stretches to the horizon.Abundance, then a harvest of loss -berries in a bowl, plucked from an orchardsagging with fruit, then the firessweeping across the sky above Kelowna.Each summer perhaps the last, yet I can'tlove the world any more than this.The view from a bridge, a thousand windowsshining in the salty sun.The wind in the trees, a tangle of sweet water;silver sage and burnt lavenderto scent our sleep. The bitter cream of almonds.Someday I will stand on the lawnof the hospice where you died,the cemetery where your ashes were scattered.Someday I will make that pilgrimage,like a stranger who loved you. Let my eyeshold the last thing your eyes heldin their vision, mottled wall or crumbled carper,the beauty of it all rushing in, too late.- Thinking of U(pdike), pg. 50* * *Again we found ourselves at the shoreline,among shards of shell and plastic,scrim of seaweed trapping my feet like a net.Red freighters and the grey Onley mist of the islands.The seashell gleam of sun on water, herringbone sky.I was thinking of a movie where a man was drowningin the middle of the ocean, huge swells soaringall around him like dunes in a desert, and how I'd once said,That's what it feels like, grief -years ago, before anyone had even died.Who knew how wide the ocean would get,how high those waves would climb.Then I went into the water, into that marine worldof kelp and plankton. The green that bathed my legshad travelled for miles to reach this bay.A noose of cloud hung on the gold horizon.Spores, sand in the gritty air. No one I loved was there.- English Bay, pg. 73
some of the poems I loved and others I couldn't get into as much but a great writer for sure!