BOOKS

OЯACULE (Talonbooks, 2021)

With an afterword by Andy Martrich.

OЯACULE occurs at the intersection of poetry and theatre. Its characters inhabit a classical and cosmological world where psychic phenomena constantly threaten to impinge upon the arc of combat occurring between the women trapped within. Influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, the writings of Plato, the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, and The Odyssey, OЯACULE approaches self and identity through a fractal, performative lens, subverting Socratic dialogue. Through lyric expressions of dream, theatrical dialogue, the engagements of chorus, anti-chorus, and song, readers may pause to enter OЯACULE before the inevitable exile: the result of such engagement is to be cast permanently from the world of reason.

PRESS

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"OЯACULE emerges from Nicole Raziya Fong’s remarkable and under-acknowledged debut, PEЯFACT. Together, the books sustain a meditation on the shape and nature of the poem. They reveal a musician’s approach to composition by stretching the compositional duration over the entire book, and by imagining the poem as a continuous, improvisatory entity that can suddenly take epic flight, or compress into the particular. OЯACULE is an achievement. It reaches to the past and holds to the Greek tragedy while sustaining its argument with the future of poetic form. Its language slips and evades common expectations of how meaning is constructed. As its ephemeral characters discuss loss, time, materiality, and being, their words rise like smoke off the page; as we try to grasp them, they dissolve. OЯACULE navigates poetry’s ancient complexities while offering insight into the poem’s hybrid and evolving future."
—Kaie Kellough, author of Magnetic Equator and Dominoes at the Crossroads

"OЯACULE slows you down. From inside the elegance of the structures (from page to stage) that suffocate and contain, finally! space is hollowed out. Porous. Singing from the glow of petalled cages/stages, received notions of value decay as the chorus of flowers impels me to "unpetal unpetal unpetal!" I desperately need this reminder -- that vulnerability is a way to not "perform fate." —Tiziana La Melia, author of The Eyelash and the Monochrome

"What we think we know of this world that light has made, not for us, but not without us, and what we believe light itself knows, and in some way must be-- these two bodies of knowledge would seem so wildly incommensurate as to forever preclude any overlap. Yet, in Nicole Raziya Fong's wondrous OЯACULE, correspondences are discovered, suggested, limned, chanced upon, sung; and, thus revealed, signify a world between worlds, where something always else is known... OЯACULE's enormous, detailed secret, like all real secrets, can be shared only amongst one's own various selves. We must learn." —Mark Francis Johnson, author of Sham Refugia and How to Flit.

"I hear OЯACULE as an incantatory palliative parable of the endgame precarity of Mother Earth – Enter/Exit MATERNAL LOVE – in the most dire and destitute terms, euphoric apoca-rattle of the sensorium. Nicole Raziya Fong is a genius daring us: Do not sing these songs. Somebody please fund the TikTok opera immediately." —Margaret Christakos, author of charger and Dear Birch.


PEЯFACT (Talonbooks, 2019)

“Part treatise on phenomenology, part theatrical score on ontology, part billet-doux to poetry itself” (Divya Victor), PEЯFACT is a three-part series of poems interrogating the nature of experience, language, trauma, and identity. This moving, philosophical debut, whose influences range from Antonin Artaud and Simone Weil to Gertrude Stein and George Oppen, meditates on materiality and consciousness, empathy and awareness, absence and mutuality – the physical presence of language.

REVIEWS

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"PEЯFACT's title places ego's I (Я in Cyril's alphabet) between breath's impending end (PE) and what we think we know (fact). Consciousness is at risk here, always, for the body is just about to betray it. Fong's poems are unrelenting; they eschew lyric utterly, enacting relations of page and stage. Here, repetition and echo are cognitive glue, igniting language's vortex, so as to enter human sensuality, human life. Read slowly and savour! There are roses!" —Erín Moure, Governor General's Award-winning author of Little Theatres and Planetary Noise

"PEЯFACT is a cerebral, cinematic, engrossing book written across and through language at its fleshiest folds, its most adored and impenetrable surface... I am struck by the work's prosody, its conceptual girth and ambition... Moving language - its facticity, its perfection - this way and that, so as to perforate it, crack it open, seeds and all, Fong suggests with acuity and sharp insight how feeling is the thing that takes and renders shape... and how this is housed in a still-juicy "tenuous flesh." —Divya Victor, author of Kith

"PEЯFACT is a sensate weather system of thought, from a rare and opulent intellect. Consciousness vibrates, dissolves, turquoises, and hydrates the space it moves through. It moves through you. Through walls of breathing fur and theatres of unstagable plays, where STORM, WIND, RIVER and STAGE play themselves, in this most interactive place, the "world imagined and enacted day to day."—Erin Robinsong, author of Rag Cosmology

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