Evelyn Lau & Ray Hsu

Ray Hsu

Image Credit: UBC Library, Ray Hsu

Evelyn Lau

Image Credit: UBC Library, Evelyn Lau

Living Under Plastic represents a major departure from Evelyn Lau’s previous poetry books. Instead of the focus on relationships and emotional damage that has characterized much of her earlier work, this book opens up to explore new subjects: family history, illness, death and dying, consumerism, and the natural world. In a tone that is often elegiac, without ever being maudlin, these poems are steeped in immortality and loss. Haunted by the pull of the past, there is strength of character and a sense of affirmation in all of these poems. While grounded in travel and in place, the tone is surprisingly meditative and contemplative.

Evelyn Lau  began publishing poetry at the age of 12; her creative efforts helped her escape the pressure of home and school. In 1985, at age 14, Lau left home and spent the next several years living itinerantly in Vancouver as a homeless person, sleeping mainly in shelters, friends’ homes and on the street.   Despite the chaos of her first two years’ independence she submitted a great deal of poetry to journals and received some recognition. A diary she kept at the time was published in 1989 as Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid. The book was a critical and commercial success

Ray Hsu’s Cold Sleep Permanent Afternoon, the follow-up to his award-winning first collection, Anthropy, is the second book in a prospective trilogy that explores the “grammar of personhood.”  He has published over a hundred and twenty-five poems in over forty magazines internationally.  Ray is an instructor at the Creative Writing Faculty at UBC.

Ray Hsu and Evelyn Lau read at the Victoria Learning Theatre of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on Febraury 24, 2011.

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