BC Poetry 2016: "Waiting Room" by Jennifer Zilm (BookThug)

elegy, a rain fragment

The rain a silk mesh blanket,
  giddy at a prose poem, a monologue
  of hobos, a tiny leaf
  a prayer of thresholds. Theft under
  your chargeable offense, your diagnosis. Goodbye
                from the boundary shore. If she said
 that to me 


Vancouver-based Jennifer Zilm received a B.A. and an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia and was a doctoral fellow at McMaster University, where her (unfinished) dissertation focused on the liturgical and poetic texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio and the Humber College School for Writers, Zilm’s writing has been published in numerous journals, including Prism International, Prairie Fire, Grain, CV2, The Antigonish Review, Vallum, and Women in Judaism and Poetry. Zilm is the author of two chapbooks: The whole and broken yellows (2013) and October Notebook (2015). Zilm has been a finalist for many contests, including The Malahat Review's Far Horizons Award and CV2's 2-Day Poem Contest. A draft of Waiting Room was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry.


Featuring a mélange of styles and forms (including sonnets, erasures, unsent emails, footnotes, session notes, CVs, tweets, and other disparate source materials), Zilm’s engaging and observant writing invites readers to investigate the curious boundaries of various therapeutic terrains-from an exploration of the esoteric world of graduate school, where the subject is religion, to a mash-up of Dante’s vision of purgatory and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), to the improbable written intersections of van Gogh’s doctors and Sylvia Plath’s therapist-subverting, sharing, and repurposing the all-too-familiar vocabularies of psychiatry, dentistry, the Bible, and academia in a humorous investigation into what it means to wait, to be a patient and to be patient, to be a student and to be a teacher, to be a healer and to be healed.

“From dental work to theological discourse, Waiting Room enthralled me. Zilm’s ‘salient’ lines leap or spring with poignancy. She deeply attends to the urgency and meaning of the poem on every level and it’s rare. Brava!” — Betsy Warland


Arrived April 5th, 2016.


Book Launches: Vancouver launch June 2016 (exact date TBA).

Purchases: The BookThug website, at AllLitUp.ca, or at your local bookstore. $18.


Repurposing the all-too-familiar vocabularies.

The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

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