"Smoke and Lilacs" is full of play and shadow, whispered intimations of mortality and glances of humour, elegiac lyric playing against steely classicism, an easy modern vernacular eliding with timeless grace. Sibum's meditative narratives move between worlds, modern and ancient, the state of our civic order and the realm of love. Human love and lust exist within the forces of empire - Rome or America. Men and women continue to ask of life 'from what god does it come, 'To what serendipity does it go' if chance is all and all there's been?', and the gods 'laugh at those who laugh at chance'. Across centuries, voices create a complex music from their moments on earth, the echoes of their 'gossip in the rain's cold light'.
Norm Sibum was born in Oberammergau in 1947 and grew up in Germany, Alaska, Utah and Washington and now lives in Montreal. He founded the Vancouver Review in 1989 and has published several collections in Canada. In 1993 Carcanet published In Laban's Field, a selected poems and his British debut. This was followed in 1998 by The November Propertius. In 2002 he won the A.M. Klein Prize for poetry.