Ode to the Potato by Fiona Tinwei Lam

Poem name: Ode to a Potato Poet name: Fiona Tinwei Lam Poem begins: On the table’s altar, roast meats and ornate sweets might claim the limelight. But for you we labour through the necessary ablutions, scraping skin, gouging out imperfection to reveal your pearly flesh. Stalwart one, you cushion against famine’s edge with the reprise of storied feasts, steaming clouds crowned with molten gold. One afternoon, I plunged my hands in dirt, seeking your lumps of rosy, tawny treasure. Soul of the soil, how you gleamed in the damp loam as if gods had transformed stones to sate the hungers of the world. Your many eyes questing in darkness for moisture, mineral, sun gazed up at me. End of poem. Credits: Copyright © Fiona Tinwei Lam Previously published in The New Quarterly, reprinted in Best Canadian Poetry 2020 (Biblioasis, 2021) and is included in its current form in Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019) Author of three poetry books (most recently, Odes & Laments, Caitlin Press, 2019) and a children’s book, Fiona Tinwei Lam’s work also appears in over 40 anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry (2010 and 2020). She is the editor of The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems about Facing Cancer. Her work has won TNQ’s Nick Blatchford prize and been shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award and has been thrice selected for BC’s Poetry in Transit. Her award-winning poetry videos have screened at festivals locally and internationally. She has recently been appointed Vancouver’s Poet Laureate for 2022-2024. fionalam.net