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Rain in Plural


A 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 // To each weather forecast I give thanks: / merci for every outdated // dusk/dawn."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.

Author Information

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 lives in Paris.


"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