BWS 09.03.22: Grace Lau  

Grace is a Hong-Kong-born, Chinese-Canadian settler living in Ontario on the traditional and Treaty territory of the Anishinabek people, now known as the Chippewa Tri-Council comprised of Beausoleil First Nation, Rama First Nation, and the Georgina Island First Nation. Her debut collection of poetry, The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak, is published by Guernica Editions. Her work is published or forthcoming in Grain Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Frontier Poetry, Arc Poetry, and elsewhere. Find her on Twitter at @thrillandgrace.

Hello! I’m Grace, and besides writing poetry, I also love photography. In the past few years, I’ve been doing more film photography. Even though I didn’t write my debut collection with the intention of it being a visual experience, I thought it might be interesting to pair some excerpts with photos I took during the time I spent writing those poems.

I hear tourists whisper, with the shiver

of a cheap thrill,

about driving down that strip

on East Hastings

windows up doors locked

past boarded-up bakeries and empty apothecaries

dried shrimp just don’t sell.

What happens when
a Chinese Immigration Act falls in love
with an Indian Act…What happens when
our medicine heals
each other—
her sage / my ginseng.
150 years are not enough to carry
the age in our roots

It is Friday night and we are at home 

on the couch, your head on my shoulder, a well -worn path. This is not the first time 

you have slowed my hours 

and yet 

how the seconds gasp 

to be doing nothing at all but feeling 

the universe 

wax content in your breath.

And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.

I twisted the prawn’s head
from its body,
ran my finger along its belly,
split it clean.

Grace visits Brockton Writers Series via our YouTube channel on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 starting at 6:30pm alongside Rebecca Salazar, Brad Fraser, and James Lee Lord Parker. Our guest speaker emmy will give us pointers on, “Finding the Right Literary Agent for You.


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