October 2 2020

More Than Allusion:
Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s Rain in Plural William Sharpe
Fiona Sze-Lorrain

All times are troubled, all worlds are full of both wounds and wonders. Poetry has always played a role in articulating these realities, and yet at the same time it provides insights that transcend the moment and speak to the larger human condition. Poetry notes the ebb and flow of tides, the flood surge or parching of rivers and streams. But it can also count each raindrop and, in a line or image, hold it up to the light, so that we can know both the rain and the ocean at the same time.

In this conversation, William C. Sharpe spoke with Fiona Sze-Lorrain about her new, fourth collection of poetry, Rain in Plural, just out from Princeton University Press this autumn. Both Sharpe and Sze-Lorrain have served as Fellows at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris, and before the Covid-19 struck, were exchanging ideas about the fundamental impulses of humans. In addition to requiring health, security, and love, do all people on some level feel a need to create, or a need to move through the world? Their conversation explores themes of mobility, perception, writing, and reading, and the interrelated, shared creativity of poet and critic.

Read their full conversation here.

United States

William Sharpe


William Chapman Sharpe is professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University, where he specializes in the literature, art, and culture of the modern city, particularly New York. His work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is editor...



Fiona Sze-Lorrain


Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, literary translator, editor, and zheng harpist who writes and translates in English, French, Chinese, and occasionally Spanish. One of the few English-language poets of our times who works across genres and artistic expressions, as well as more than three languages or cultures, she is the author of four books of poetry: Water the Moon (2010)...