Elevate Difference

Water the Moon

Socrates famously stated that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I respectfully submit that poets take the dross of everyday life and spin it into gold by focusing on those tiny details that can sometimes get lost in the dizzying mosaic of daily life. See the tiny lines on the woman’s face as she bends down to pick up her glove. Those lines are the map to her life story. Watch the play of light and dark that dance across the shade as dusk falls. Step back and look at your world as though you’ve never seen it before. As I read through the collection of poems in Water the Moon, I felt a sense of this altered perception or reality that, for me, is the mark of a gifted poet. Sze-Lorrain’s poems touch that chord in you that you feel when your heart creaks open just a little bit and the world is suddenly refreshed.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a global citizen in the true sense of the phrase. According to the book jacket copy, she “was born in Singapore and grew up in a hybrid of cultures.” Sze-Lorrain has studied in England, the U.S. and France where she received a PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris; she is fluent in English, French and Chinese. Sze-Lorrain’s poetry reflects the tug of war on one’s emotions that frequently accompanies living amongst and between cultures. In “Par Avion” she writes:

…His letter translated nothing but instructions. Confucian wisdom (One must not sit On a mat that is not straight), from father to daughter, two cultures apart…

Sze-Lorrain, who divides her time between New York City and Paris, France, also writes of France in a way that evokes nostalgia even for someone who has never been there.

Carry this book with you on the train to the park and read it as you watch the world unfold in front of you. You’ll find that life seems to slow down and draw you in just a little bit more after reading Sze-Lorrain’s poetry.

Written by: Gita Tewari, September 20th 2010