Odes & Laments

By (author): Fiona Tinwei Lam

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.


Fiona Tinwei Lam

Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored two poetry books, Intimate Distances (finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award) and Enter the Chrysanthemum and a children’s book, The Rainbow Rocket. She co-edited Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood (McGill-Queen’s University Press), and edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems about Facing Cancer. Her poetry and prose appear in over 30 anthologies. Her poems have appeared twice on BC buses through the Poetry in Transit program, and her video poems have been screened locally and internationally. She has an MFA in creative writing from UBC, as well as a BA (UBC) and LLB (Queen’s) and LLM (University of Toronto). She is currently is a teacher/mentor at SFU Continuing Studies. fionalam.net

Jane Silcott’s first collection of essays, Everything Rustles, was published in 2013 with Anvil Press and shortlisted for the 2014 Hubert Evans Nonfiction award in the BC Book Prizes. Her writing has appeared in several Canadian literary magazines and anthologies and been recognized by the CBC Literary Awards (in 2005 she won second place for an essay about motherhood and writing); the National and Western Magazine Awards, Room Magazine, and the Creative Nonfiction Collective of Canada. Jane is a mentor in the MFA Program in Creative Nonfiction at the University of King’s College in Halifax and Vancouver Manuscript Intensive. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Victoria. janesilcott.ca


“Take the time to enjoy the poignant and beautiful Odes & Laments, its Neruda-like attention to ordinary things, its poems about rivers and waterways, its graphic poems about plastics. The collection pays attention to the environment and our place within the planet’s ecosystems, and to our human disruptions and desecrations of that harmony. The poems about cancer are particularly powerful.”

—Susan McCaslin

“Lam’s poetry highlights the omnipresent combination of joy and pain in life. […] Odes & Laments acknowledges the tragedy of being, guides the reader through these emotions with grace, and reminds us that there is endless beauty in even the smallest object or moment.”


“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

‘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


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96 Pages
8.00in * 5.50in * .25in


September 06, 2019


Caitlin Press



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Canadian



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