You’re welcome to take a seat in (the) Waiting Room, the first full-length collection of poetry from award-winning writer Jennifer Zilm. Featuring a mélange of styles and forms (sonnets, erasures, unsent emails, footnotes, session notes, CVs, tweets, and other disparate source materials—including, the Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls), Waiting Room subverts, shares, and repurposes the vocabularies of psychiatry, dentistry, the Bible, and academia in a humorous investigation of the contained intimacy of appointments and therapeutic relationships. Ultimately interested in how we learn, the experimental and lyrical poems in Waiting Room seek lessons in 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.
In four unique sections, Zilm 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.
Lovers of avant-garde and lyrical poetry will immediately connect with Zilm's engaging, observant, and probing work, as will readers familiar with the realms of Vancouver's neighbourhoods, in particular the DTES. And because of its many idiomatic forms (e.g., emails, tweets, recipes, etc.), its integration of a wide range of source materials, and its relatable settings and subject matter, Waiting Room could serve as a "gateway collection" for readers who don’t always connect with poetry, but enjoy other forms of literature.