The poems in The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak explore the many identities, both visible and invisible, that a body contains. With influences from pop culture, the Bible, tech, and Hong-Kongese history, these pieces reflect and reveal how the stories of immigrants in Canada hold both universal truths and singular distinctions. From boybands that show the way to become “the kind of girl a girl could love” to “rich flavours that are just a few generations of poverty away,” they invite the reader to meditate on spirituality, food, and the shapes love takes.
Grace Lau’s debut poetry collection is blessed by fine details—fine details that hold immense meaning. Multi-generational histories steep in Grandma’s cup of cha. A lifetime of queer desire knits along with the poet’s own skinned knees. Lau’s refined poetic lines and crisp stanzas ask us to slow down the pace of our reading, so we too can discover the deep substance of each image and word.
Amber Dawn, author of My Art Is Killing Me and Other Poems
Grace Lau’s poetry will saunter into a room inside of your heart, take a seat in the front row, and stay there for weeks. These poems bravely make their way into the lonely corners and abandoned underbellies of some very painful places: a childhood closet, a complicated inheritance, forsaken faith, queer love, and family, to name just a few, and somehow render these memories into heirlooms. I read these poems once to discover what this poet has given us, and will now read them again and again, in order to truly unwrap and cherish her gifts.
Ivan Coyote, storyteller and author of Rebent Sinner