Rain in Plural: Poems

Rain in Plural: Poems

by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Rain in Plural: Poems

Rain in Plural: Poems

by Fiona Sze-Lorrain


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The highly anticipated new collection from a poet whose previous book was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

Rain in Plural is the much-anticipated fourth collection of poetry by Fiona Sze-Lorrain, who has been praised by The Rumpus as "a master of musicality and enlightening allusions." In the wholly original world of these new poems, Sze-Lorrain addresses both private narratives and the overexposed discourse of the polis, using silence and montage, lyric and antilyric, to envision what she calls "creating between liberties." With a moral precision embracing us without eschewing I, she rethinks questions of citizenship, the selections of sensory memory, and, by extension, the tether of word and image to the actual. She writes, "I accept the truth in newspapers / by holding the murder of my friends against my chest. // To each weather forecast I give thanks: / merci for every outdated // dusk/dawn." Agrippina the Younger, Franz Kafka, Bob Dylan, a butoh performance, an unnamed Raku tea bowl—each has a place here. Made whole by time and its alteration in timelessness, synchrony, coincidences, and accidents, Rain in Plural beautifully reveals an elegiac yet ever-evolving inner life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691203560
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/29/2020
Series: Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets , #155
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, translator, editor, and zheng harpist. She is the author of three previous poetry collections, including The Ruined Elegance (Princeton), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has also translated more than a dozen books of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poetry. She lives in Paris.

Table of Contents

I Closer to Clouds

More Vulnerable Than Others 3

Walking Out on the Lyric 4

Macabre Dance 5

The Problem with Music 7

A Matter of Time 8

Taste the Sun, 10

What I Saw When I Looked out the Window of a Clairvoyant House 11

Arioso 13

To the Tune of One Valley 14

After Being Loved 16

Preface to a Cloud Chronicle 18

Reincarnated, but Not for the First Time 19

Has It Been Eight Months 20

Far from Description 21

II Small Storms

To Suffering, to Liberation 25

Mimesis: Cloud Chronicle 26

11 27

A Frozen Requiem 29

From a Winter That Isn't a Rehearsal but the First Sequence of Atonal Pitches 30

The Reality of a Nightmare 31

Wolinski 1934-2015 32

Never Once 33

Self-Reliance 35

Ode to Disappointment 37

To Critics 38

Loose Cloud Chronicles 40

Strand 44

Duende 45

III Nine Solitudes

IV Django Fontina

P 61

Estampes 62

Sea Ballads 67

Not Meant as Poems 72

V Child, Don't Hide

The Illusion of Tenderness 79

Agrippina the Younger 80

Muse, If I 81

Give Up Thinking Twice 82

Six Plainsongs 86

The Saying and the Said: Ventriloquistic Cloud Chronicles 88

The Great Wall of China 96

Self-Portrait as a Landscape without Its Memories and My Age 99

Eternity 101

Notes 103

Acknowledgments 107

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Dazzling Fiona Sze-Lorrain refreshes our sense of time in her newest volume, the marvelously manifold Rain in Plural. Here, where the sea can be kept in a box, an airport has a skeleton and a nervous system, and both a wedding and heart surgery are scheduled 'to put the past behind,' she also transforms our sense of space. As if this poet were employing watercolor techniques, Sze-Lorrain builds up her drolly profound images. From 'a favorite samurai' to a dictator's dog, in the brilliant polycultural world she conjures we're suddenly everywhere at once, making Rain in Plural a book to absorb as one absorbs a vision."—Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst: Poems and Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems

"Rain in Plural is a cause for celebration. In recent years, when the world has become too wearying for me, I’ve looked to the poetry of Fiona Sze-Lorrain for her inventive lyricism and her radiant intelligence. There is an exquisite music in this work that is unlike anything else in contemporary poetry. The elegant psychological narratives of these poems can be both troubling and consoling, yet they emerge as compellingly as one’s own suppressed dreams. Sze-Lorrain’s poetry exists in an artistic landscape that echoes Antonioni’s sensual intellectual acuity as well as Eric Rohmer’s bemused tenderness. Rain in Plural is a collection of glorious and absolute brilliance."—David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour: New and Selected Poems

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