Geomantic riposte: 'Occasional Emergencies'

Phoebe Wang was born in Ottawa, Ontario and is a poet, reviewer and teacher. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, including ARC, Canadian Literature, CV2, Descant, Grain, The Malahat Review, and Ricepaper Magazine, and also in TOK 6: Writing the New Toronto. Wang is emerging as an important contributor to critical studies of poetry, and her latest piece "Three Passages West" for online Toronto publication The Puritan  (in my rather self-serving beau geste, including work by West Coast poets Brian Brett, Evelyn Lau, and however gone South, yours truly) demonstrates her astute and insightful analysis. Her first chapbook, Occasional Emergencies, was published with Odourless Press in late 2013 and is just one example of innumerable such treasures that abound in Canada. Wang’s poems in this collection are observations of artistic works and installations that also provide intriguing social context.

Occasional Emergencies by Phoebe Wang (Odourless Press, 2013, page 3)


Surely more

like him will follow,

eyes sieving us

for a cupped hand

of water, a lick

of oil. We know

the leafy squares, the rococo

houses he once possessed

as patently as the blueprints

of his skin, no longer

legible. We’ll know

the country he is from.


Geomantic Riposte: Slaughter


There’s a lot of ‘laughter’ in every slaughter online     I was thinking

it was time to strike a chord when I saw grey Giacometti people in

that Rothko subway but we have squandered that for conferences

on flesh tones in the spirit of “Canadian Surrealism”       Massacred

babes hidden for centuries in Brueghel’s painting   now flaunted on next to Kardashian foibles    10 hottest selfies    soap

spoilers    a mom being punched        Giacometti figured setbacks and

disappointments to be fertile experiences dispelling illusions and Al

Purdy figured through paintings of the old masters you see evil only

obliquely     Ah, time for another paper on our “sense of community”