You’re welcome to take a seat in (the) Waiting Room, the first full-length collection of poetry from award-winning writer Jennifer Zilm. Featuring a mï¿½lange of styles and forms (sonnets, erasures, unsent emails, footnotes, session notes, CVs, tweets, and other disparate source materials–including, the Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls), Waiting Room subverts, shares, and repurposes the vocabularies of psychiatry, dentistry, the Bible, and academia in a humorous investigation of the contained intimacy of appointments and therapeutic relationships. Ultimately interested in how we learn, the experimental and lyrical poems in Waiting Room seek lessons in what it means to wait, to be a patient and to be patient, to be a student and to be a teacher, to be a healer and to be healed.
In four unique sections, Zilm invites readers to investigate the curious boundaries of various therapeutic terrains–from an exploration of the esoteric world of graduate school, where the subject is religion, to a mash-up of Dante’s vision of purgatory and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), to the improbable written intersections of van Gogh’s doctors and Sylvia Plath’s therapist.
Lovers of avant-garde and lyrical poetry will immediately connect with Zilm’s engaging, observant, and probing work, as will readers familiar with the realms of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, in particular the DTES. And because of its many idiomatic forms (e.g., emails, tweets, recipes, etc.), its integration of a wide range of source materials, and its relatable settings and subject matter, Waiting Room could serve as a “gateway collection” for readers who don’t always connect with poetry, but enjoy other forms of literature.
“From dental work to theological discourse, Waiting Room enthralled me. Zilm’s “salient” lines leap or spring with poignancy. She deeply attends to the urgency and meaning of the poem on every level and it’s rare. Brava!” –Betsy Warland, author of Oscar of Between
“Jennifer Zilm has written a book as adept with form as it is rooted in conceit. Zilm impresses both intellectually and aesthetically, crafting work that refuses relegation to a single category. This poet espouses quirk, but only as path to devastating affect. An occasional sonnet glitters in a playful prose poem matrix; true biblical scholarship becomes a moving reflection upon identity, love, and beauty; oh, and Vincent van Gogh goes mad. Disorder haunts Waiting Room, a cunningly ordered sequence that will be one of the most unique titles published in 2016.” –Shane Neilson
“Zilm’s first collection of poetry is a layered experience; intelligent, stimulating, structurally precise, shot through with a slightly sardonic (but not embittered) sense of humour. Ranging from the language of the Dead Sea Scrolls to the language of Psychiatry (its own kind of religion), Zilm pushes text and textuality, exploring art, life, theory and mortality. What a virtuoso performance.” –Hiromi Goto
“Jennifer Zilm’s Waiting Room is incantatory and incandescent. Like Brian Wilson’s assertion of the song as a pocket symphony, Zilm’s poetic lyrics are pocket epics. It is our collective ambivalence toward the transcendent that is her subject, whether the hope we hold on to comes in the form of luminous study or fluorescent pathology. These are the poems of our times and you will rise into the aether within them.” –Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour: Stories