Status Update

Status Update — nominated for the Pat Lowther Award

TSIANG-Status Update-Front Cover-150dpi

From the back of the book:

Rarely does a writer surprise and delight her reader with such beauty, subtlety and subversive vulnerability. Status Update, Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang’s second book of poetry, is a collection of epigraph poems, each one composed in response to an entry pulled from a real status update posted on Facebook. Tsiang plays with a wide variety of subjects, from the deeply personal, to the banal, to the puzzling, to the philosophical. Her reverence for language, her playfulness and understanding, often mischievous, weave poems of rich diversity, irony and curiosity.

Status Update is a collision between one of today’s most popular social networking websites and the seemingly rigid conventions of poetry. Through this juxtaposition, Tsiang explores the intimate, perverse, and endlessly compelling world of text that is sent out daily to strangers and friends alike.

And here is what people are saying:

“Tsiang demonstrates breathtaking fearlessness with form and draws from her arsenal of poetic forms including ballads, free verse, prose poetry, sonnets and haiku, uncovering glittery-golden truths…Finally, someone has extrapolated something of deeper value from social media, which is cause for celebration. Tsiang’s work is also cause for celebration. Her poems tend to linger after reading like the last-yet-welcome party guest; you share another bottle of wine with them that you really ought not to.” — Arc Magazine, James K Moran, 30/01/2015


“Her poems echo a longing, vulnerability, a soft cry; people wanting to be heard, but never knowing just quite how to say it. Tsiang subtly dives into the complexity of social media and intimacy: how people are more comfortable exposing and expressing themselves because they have a technological barrier. Tsiang gives a voice to this loneliness…Her playfulness and willingness to have fun with poetry are traits not seen enough in Canadian poetry. She adds new life to a genre that is constantly trying to stay relevant..” — Prism Magazine, Claire Matthews, 4/07/2014


Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang is a writer doing remarkable things…With Status Update, she shows that she’s got even more tricks in her back pocket, but also such a talent for turning words into vivid moments, and a refreshing viewpoint on the world.” — Pickle Me This, Kerry Clare, 26/06/2014


“The collection showcases how poems can spring from a single line or image and travel far from the original source. In a poem looking back at childhood, Tsiang writes: “Remember/how we would lose ourselves/in play?” This lively collection is proof that play is still a big part of this writer’s life.” — The Toronto Star, Barbara Carey, 20/06/2014


“It is clear to this reader that Tsiang is so sure footed she can navigate with her eyes closed…  Status Update is now nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award.  This isn’t an accident, random, or coincidence. This is what happens when someone of such elastic wisdom and giddy grace comes out of the gate singing electric. This is why we read books of poetry. Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang’s poetry is utterly convincing, completely engaging and thoroughly enjoyable across the entire spectrum of my palette.  I liked these poems so much I wanted to steal them and keep them for myself.” — Michael Dennis, 02/05/2014


“Finally, I highly recommend Status Update by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang (via Fernie’s own Oolichan Press). Often when I sit down to read poetry, I put on my Serious Face. With my pen hovering over the page and my heart filled with existential angst, I try to determine: “What does it all mean?!” I approach Tsiang’s poetry very differently. When I hear Sarah’s name I smile. When I pick up one of her books, I giggle with delight. If I had to pick one word to describe Tsiang’s poetry, I would choose FUN. Her poems brim with energy and joy. Each poem in this newest collection is inspired by a single Facebook status update. Smart, contemporary and wonderfully playful, this book is the kind I cannot bring myself to shelf after reading. It sits out next to my computer where I can revisit it often. The thought of shoving Status Update deep into a bookshelf where it will collect dust makes me sad. This book is too full of life for such an ordinary fate.” — The Fernie Fix, Angie Abdou, 01/07/2014


“She is exploring the universal in these snippets of personal information…as dark as some of these poems are, there is something irrepressible in them, too.” — The Kingston Whig Standard, 30/11/13


“In her second book, Sarah Yi‐Mei Tsiang uses real status updates from Facebook as  epigraphs to poems that range from the formality of the glosa and haiku to breathless  open verse: funny, tender, surprising, and wild. These are poems of rich diversity,  touching on all aspects of life from the intimate to the perverse. Some are intensely personal, some are philosophical, all reveal a mind alive with the curious and profound  interaction between the virtual and real worlds.” — Juror’s comments, League of Canadian Poets



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