Larissa Lai: Haibun, the Tao Te Ching, and her book, Iron Goddess of Mercy

October 18, 2021
Matt Trease

Larissa Lai Interview

by Paul E. Nelson

Iron Goddess of Mercy is a long poem portrait of Larissa Lai (left), cover of Iron Goddess of Mercy (left)that channels the vengeful energies of The Furies to address modern-day issues of systemic racism, colonialism, climate destruction and genocide in 64 dense haibun. With influences ranging from Hanna Arendt to Muppets creator Jim Henson, from Bing Crosby to the Dead Milkmen, from Rita Wong to Mao Tse Tung and the Tao Te Ching, Larissa Lai blends them all together in a dense stew of language with a haiku to cleanse the palate. Larissa Lai is the author of two previous books of poetry and two novels, holds a Canada Research Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary where she directs the Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing.

Recorded Wednesday, July 7, 2021 via Zoom at 10am PDT.

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