Shawn Hoo’s debut poetry chapbook, Of the Florids, begins with an inability to speak of the natural world in the urban fortress of Singapore; a tropical island’s fading romanticism for a city boy. Unrooting the lyricism of an archive that sprawls across natural history drawings ordered by British colonists, wartime reports on animals in Japan, queer myths of the Rabbit God and the miracles of modern landscaping—the book teems with its own polyphonic, multispecies world where place can once again be enchanted. The map of the Florids start to materialize and grow like a defiant root system: even as it feeds on the soil of history, it too speculates and twists according to its own ebullient, baroque music.
Of the Florids by Shawn Hoo
Diode Editions, July 2022