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Book Review :: How to Become the God of Small Things by Fiona Lu

Guest Post by Debbie Pierre

Winner of the 2023 The Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Award, Fiona Lu’s debut chapbook, How to Become the God of Small Things, is a layered introspection on survival and mourning.Lu offers a glimpse into the irreplaceable and delicate nature of life on a personal level, as discussed in “Elegy” and “Misstep.” On the other hand, she plays devil’s advocate by painting the insignificance of one’s life in the grander schemes of the world in poems such as “Loneliness” and “Poem Made Entirely of Gardens.”

In addition, Lu’s poetry collection displays a great deal of hand imagery to convey the God-like power and control that lie in one’s hands, “he / stuck his hand into a fishtank and squeezed,” as well as the kindness and humanity capable from the same hands, “the way he always claps his hands in apology / before he feasts,” as demonstrated in “Hunting.”

Lu’s quiet resilience commands each page or world of hers, unafraid of experimenting with different forms and rhythms. Evidently, she has given much thought to the artistic composition of her pieces, since many are worthy of the cork/bulletin board treatment.

Overall, How to Become the God of Small Things delivers startling reality checks on mortality, leaving readers to ponder its visceral imagery in moments of stillness.

How to Become the God of Small Things by Fiona Lu. October 2023

Reviewer Bio: Debbie Pierre is working towards an MFA in Creative & Professional Writing from William Paterson University. She is the recipient of Bloomfield College’s Joyce Carol Oates Award in Creative Writing in 2022. As an up-and-coming poet, her poems have appeared in BC Underground. She loves the macabre, the arts, and cheesy jokes.

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