Fiona Tinwei Lam's Reading and Music Recommendations:
Unable to forget the searing intensity of imagery and language in her first book, When My brother Was an Aztec, I have been reading Natalie Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning second collection, Postcolonial Love Poem (Graywolf Press, 2020). One of the poems, “exhibits from The American Water Museum” brilliantly imagines possible exhibits in an nonexistent museum. It’s subversive, fierce, lucid,
I’ve been listening to (and yes, even attempting to play) some of Philip Glass’ Etudes for the piano after listening to Maki Namekawa play Etude No. 9 online upon the recommendation of writer and piano enthusiast, Stephen Gauer. Pianist Les Dala talked last year about learning and playing them during the pandemic on CBC Radio. There is definitely a mesmerizing, if not obsessive quality to the minimalist compositions, but they somehow seem apt for the times we’re in. They can be manic, frenetic, exuberant or cathartic; other times moody and haunting.
Fiona Tinwei Lam is the author of three poetry books and a children’s book. Her poetry and prose also appear in over 40 anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry (2010 and 2020). She has coedited two nonfiction anthologies. Her poetry videos have screened at festivals internationally. fionalam.net.