clay lamps & fighter kites

clay lamps & fighter kitesPoetry by damian lopes
Illustrations by A. MacIvor

clay lamps & fighter kites is an intimate poetic journey that strives to ‘translate’ South Asian and East African imagery into a Canadian poetic context. Drawing primarily on the devotional tradition of South Asian literature, and rooted in a Canadian landscape, this work explores a blending of cultures and traditions. The otherness of the imagery to a Western reader, and of the form to an Eastern reader, elucidates the divide of the immigrant experience. Yet the use of diasporic images, the blending of mythic systems, offers new insight into both cultures, and starts a redefinition of the shared geography of a global world.

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96 pages, paper, ISBN 1-55128-087-6
first edition of 500 copies
The Mercury Press, Toronto, 2000
Cover image and illustrations by A. MacIvor


These poems emerge from the poet’s literal journey in search of the culture of his Goan ancestry. They are spare meditations on the meanings of his discoveries. He shares with the reader his encounters with unfamiliar meanings, but does this without direct explication. Many of the poems are written like love poems (some of them are) and they trace a delicate and insistent sensibility. This is a profoundly intimate book with its assertion of tentative identity like ‘a kite held aloft.’ A subtle eroticism pervades the poems, heightening the sense of intimacy. To a reader unfamiliar with South Asian imagery, the poems build meaning, adding new dimensions to the familiar and the unfamiliar. The poems are remarkably effective. This is a most rewarding book.
– Nelson Ball

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