Rain in Plural: Poems
by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Price: $17.95
50 Poems ~ 120 Pages
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691203560
To Order: Amazon


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outdated // dusk/dawn.”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
beautifully reveals an elegiac yet ever-evolving inner life.


"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


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. Her latest
translation is contemporary Chinese poet, fiction writer, and filmmaker Yin
Lichuan's Karma (Tolsun, 2020). She lives in Paris.


Far from Description

by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Day after day,
this sentence grew longer. The verb ran faster

than expected. Pushy

as ever, it hurt the feelings of its own

I was the speaker who couldn't agree with its mood—it wasn't grief,

ecstasy, or fury
I experienced when pregnant with a rebel. It

was the way a regret

lingered—stuck and turning in one corner,

as if it couldn't perish without being heard,
as if its madness drove me to silence,
as if reason
or the sound of it mattered.

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