Jean Eng is a Toronto-based visual artist and writer. A graduate of Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Eng paints in acrylics on canvas. A detail from her painting “Fridge and Stove” is featured on the cover of her debut poetry collection, Festival of All Souls.
Festival of All Souls
Toronto: Inanna Publications, 2020.
E-book (Access restricted to members of the university community)
Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)
Festival of All Souls explores the experience of an Asian woman born in Canada. Although neither fully rooted in one or the other, the influence of two different cultures allows heritage, gender and values to nonetheless, enrich a personal vision. The title refers to an Asian ceremony whereby families visit ancestral gravesites in the spring to pay their respects to the departed. During this observance of tribute and commemoration, time is also provided for contemplation and the acknowledgement of renewal that is in harmony with the season. The poetry in this collection is guided by, and ultimately expands upon themes inspired by this ritual: cycles of fullness and loss, expressions of visible and hidden energy, as well as navigations through public and private space. A definition of soul widens to include within our human capacity—plants, animals, minerals, and even weather. Whether leaves pause on the rim of a jade plant bowl, a starling understands Cantonese, or waves lunge like white dragons across Lake Ontario, an invitation is extended to celebrate the diversity of being in this world.