New Release: Slows: Twice by t. liem
Happy pub day to Slows: Twice, a CBC Books poetry collection to watch for in 2023!
Backward and forward: a double book of mirrored poems about identity in all its forms.
This is a book of slow hours, days, and years – how they can collapse into one another, how it can feel like we are living one day repeating itself. From within this collapse, the speaker seeks connection everywhere. They visit their father’s birthplace, Jogjakarta; they listen to a stranger’s phone call at the Motel 6 in Alberta; they linger in the so-called ethnic aisle of the grocery store. From all of these places the speaker is discouraged but tries to imagine a future joyously incomprehensible to the present.
Slows: Twice is a collection of revisions and repetitions; every poem in one half of the book has an alternate version, or a mirror poem, in the other half. The poems are tied to themes of work and labour, consumption and waste, family and home, as shapers of identity and relationships. The act of revising and repeating – slowly – is meant to be a resistance to efficiency, a resistance to being an always-productive body under capitalism.
Praise for Slows: Twice
"The poems of Slows: Twice collect in resonance, contemplate the construction of selves, with modes of repetition, sequencing, and mirroring, the way language assembles an identity or points to itself as it points away. 'The clouds // disappear the sky sometimes; or they become it.' Storied and cubistic, palindromic and cleaved, Liem’s poems reveal relationships to time, noise, and duration, and the possibility of joy given painful pasts."
– Hoa Nguyen, author of A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure
"'For everything I was, I am now something else.' Revision of self and world are core to this innovative, unruly book that manages somehow to be at once formally wacky and emotionally clear. These poems seem to ask: if language is a box heavy with histories and inadequacies and which we nevertheless must carry, can language also carry us somewhere, elsewhere, strangely? Rarely have I encountered a book so at home in the unresolved, in the tension between a longing for declaration and a commitment to questions. T. Liem’s work conjures the figure of Janus: god of duality and gates, one face facing an end, the other looking through a new door, right in the eye of a dream."
– Chen Chen, author of Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency
"T. Liem is one of my favorite poets working in Canada. I welcomed this book into my life like sudden sunlight. Slows: Twice is a book about how urgently we need to read differently. I loved its mischievous relation to form and expectation as well as its burning intelligence. I once described T. as an inheritor of the tradition of language poetry, but what Slows: Twice proves is that T. is less an inheritor and more so an innovator, an inventor in their own right. I read it in one frenzied sitting."
– Billy-Ray Belcourt, author of A Minor Chorus
Montreal launch of Slows: Twice
Thursday May 11, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly | 211 Rue Bernard O, Montréal, QC
More info here
t. liem @ Coach House Books Spring Launch
Wednesday May 17, 2023 at 7:00
The Society Clubhouse | 967 College St. Toronto, ON
t. liem @ Word on the Street
Saturday May 27, 2023 | The Vibrant Voices Stage
More info here, RSVP here