SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA CLUSTER
"[O]ne of the most striking voices to emerge in Canadian poetry in a generation." The Walrus
“Souvankham Thammavongsa has established a reputation as one of Canada’s leading minimalists and technicians of negative space. Rather than being some index of repression, Thammavongsa’s pregnant silences in Cluster evoke the erasure of language and history, flagrant manipulations of the public record, and events that can only be approached obliquely. Her fragments provide a shelter for the reader to dream without fear or censure of what lies beyond the page.” Quill & Quire
"A deep, searching dive into the ways we create meaning, personally and culturally—from how we see our relationships to how the financial sector operates—and an exploration of the values embedded in our perceptions. The poems often unfold as a series of quiet, simple observations that expand in import. This is particularly true of 'O,' a remarkable meditation that begins by contemplating the shape of the letter . . . and progresses through a series of associative leaps . . . to conclude by questioning the global political and economic order." Toronto Star
“Here’s where poems become site/sight, where poems contract and expand the head-heart sense, that eighth sense alive in language: here’s another and another and another and another in Souvankham Thammavongsa’s Cluster. . . . her poems make fine work of the art of suggestion by rending, bolt by necessary bolt, the acute and the complex conditions in which language must do its work. Cluster hauls the detritus of years, offers us an otherwise of paths through family and loss and what is found in the eventides that flow from one time to another, in the thing that amounts to what we call ‘life.’” —Canisia Lubrin, Hamilton Review of Books
SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Her debut book of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN America Open Book Award, the Danuta Gleed Award, and the Trillium Book Award, and one of Time's Must-Read Books of 2020. The title story was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Thammavongsa is also the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel.