• Poetry reviews

    Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse


    Mark Sampson, Free Range Reading, June 2013
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    “magical, enchanted and daunting”

    Karen Schwartz, Quill and Parchment, June 2010
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    “[these] poems will hold your attention breathless.”

    Joe Blades, The Globe and Mail, April 2010
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    “natural, magical and transformative”

    Reid Mitchell, Asian Cha, Issue 9, November 2009
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    Praise for Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse

    “Rich with shades of fable, the wonder of the quest, urban myth, and the storytelling of legends, blended together with hints of surrealism throughout, the narratives of these mostly lyrical poems and prose poems will hold your attention breathless.” Read the full Article >>

    “Her lyrical work and exquisite phrase-making derives not only from her own talent as a writer but also from her profession as a violinist. Tsang’s is beautiful and haunting poetry.”

    “Tsang gives generously from the seascapes of her artistry, her poems like ‘the window left open / on a rainy day, filling / the bathtub for free.’” Robert Priest, from the back cover blurb for Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse.

    “She has a keen eye for nature, which she imbues with human and supernatural meaning. Cataloguing the motifs that occur in Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse—natural, magical, and transformative—can only suggest its dark and joyful richness.” Read the full Article >>

    [A] bold foray into daring writing. Expect unusual metaphors and dangerous beauty, and expect to have lines haunt you long after the last page is turned.

  • Music,  Poetry

    Button music lyrics



    button with no buttonhole
    no		shirtsleeve
    cuff		lip
    fly 		eye
    rose-pinned lapel
    stiff upper breast pocket
    button where button was


    button made of
    doesn’t matter
    as long as 
    it’s tough
    this will be 
    the prick
    is not
    the point


    button as brass
    of a .22 cartridge
    remote as 
    some other
    four black spots


    lost button
    in the road
    ready for 


    button up your overcoat
    (you got me buttoned)
    mismatched button
    green among the red
    those are buttons
    that were his eyes
    button hanging by a


    each orifice
    & exit
    softness is to strength
    freedom is to bind
    wholeness is to mend
    circle is to square

    Cards from the Tarot de Marseille

    King of Cups

    I hold a candle
    to your cup
    Is that deep blue
    void or full
    Careful don’t spill
    one drop
    can light the way
    for days

    The Hermit

    I have grown old
    at the crossroads
    waiting for you
    The urn is empty
    ashes scattered
    long ago
    How can we live
    unguided by love
    every day pacing
    the burial grounds
    trying to avoid
    open graves
    I stand at the edge
    and look down
    is that button
    or breadcrumb
    Among stubborn roots
    a few dead leaves 

    Le Pape

    music is the wise man’s religion
    music is power
    music talks
    music is the root of all evil
    a good name is better than music
    health is better than music
    life’s too short to save music
    show me the music
    music makes the world go round
    music doesn’t grow on trees
    music is better than poverty
    anyone who’s made music has gone broke
    a fool and his music are soon parted
    put your music where your mouth is
    this is blood music
    you can bet your bottom note
    time is music
    use it or lose it
    if music burns a hole in your pocket
    put a button in it

    © 2022 – Phoebe Tsang / All Rights Reserved

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    Praise for Solitaires

    by Sudeep Sen in Atlas O2: New Writing, Art, Image, 2007.

    “Phoebe Tsang is a Chinese Canadian poet and musician. Her lyrical work and exquisite phrasemaking derives not only from her own talent as a writer but also from her profession as a violinist. The dozen poems assembled in this handmade chapbook are by turns delicate, moving and song-like. Take a look at the opening couplet of ‘John Perry Plays’: ‘Your fingers walk the black-and-white keyboard, / the weight of years sunken in each step.’ These lines are finely tuned and subtly crafted, full of natural rhythm and cadence. Another chapbook of hers is due this year, and I do hope she puts out a full-length collection soon. Tsang’s is beautiful and haunting poetry.”