Featured Poem

Jeux d’eau
by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Until the quavers become feathers of a fountain, Ravel remains a beast that charges through the room. G sharps and B flats are four times as restless. Phrases unshapely, notes flutter like fish out of an aquarium. Arpeggios, says Martha, must be water, touched at room temperature and without edges. Staccatos are black stones you go inside. You can’t jump too high, you must weigh less than the stones. I am nine and here is where wisdom should begin. Très doux. Très expressif. Très rapide. I am working on three ways to enter a fountain. I found five. Imagine butterflies in a lightful dome. Imagine clouds a belt around your waist. These are the best two to sustain the flight. To spend the pedal. To betray the title. If only I knew fountains never look the same.


Reprinted with the author’s permission, “Jeux d’eau” is from Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s  second book My Funeral Gondola, published by Manoa Books/El León Literary Arts. You can hear Martha Argerich play Ravel’s Jeaux d’eau on Youtube. In an interview with Zara Raab in Blue Lyra Review, Sze-Lorrain speaks of her book, her writing, and her music. She speaks about her relationships to English, Chinese and French, among other topics, in an interview with Christina Cook in TriQuarterly.


Fiona Sze-Lorrain photo final NY


Born in Singapore, Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, literary translator, cultural critic, and harp concertist who grew up in a hybrid of cultures in Europe, United States, and Southeast Asia. Her recent work includes two volumes of poetry, My Funeral Gondola (2013) and Water the Moon (2010), as well as several volumes of translation of contemporary Chinese, American, and French poets. A founding editor at Cerise Press and an editor at Vif Éditions, she lives in France. (www.fionasze.com)

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

One comment

  1. Desmond Kon

    Yay, Fiona!!!


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