Welcoming the Calamity

Prathna Lor’s Emanations

A review of Emanations by Prathna Lor

Published on July 4, 2022

Prathna Lor

Wolsak & Wynn

IIn their first full-length collection, Prathna Lor debuts a powerful lyric voice. With poetic grace, they sing at the break of language and self, writing, “If whatever can be said is eruption, let me speak plainly.” Lor suggests that speech is a kind of eruption, where we might locate the self. Or in their words, “I welcome the calamity/ between delirium/ but there is a voice/ in what language breaks.” At this break and juncture, Lor affirms, “I know my voice is.” 

If this sounds circular, or abstract, that’s because it is – Lor explores the limits of language in order to lyrically reassemble the contours of speech where “what presents itself as itself must always be undone.” In this eruption, the voice appears “luminescent,” filled with light and wonder: “Inside of my voice is our sound/ Thinking the fractures/ Where I emerge.” This is a book of metaphysical emanations on self, where the speaker swells with joy before “the everyday divine,” or in that “echo/ what is left between/ accident and epiphany.” 

Lor therefore writes at the precipice of consciousness, to present a lyrical self that moves through and implicates the reader in the pleasure of its own dissolution. They insist, “Make room for the subsonic/ the little binding underneath,” yet continuously return from this intangible space to the body: “Always / moving through.” This way, Lor works in a Whitmanesque tradition, but with the noted intention “to unspeak history.” As a result, Lor both interrogates and reaffirms the lyrical subject by proposing a fractured yet expansive self. This collection is for the poetry reader looking for a new and luminous literary voice. mRb

Emma Telaro is a writer and reader living in Montreal. She is the Associate Director of AELAQ.



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