Phoebe Wang’s Admission Requirements is, from the title itself, a collection inflected with tender irony. Admission, here, appears in all its meanings: the act of letting in; the privilege of being allowed, and the price paid for it; the acceptance of difficult truths. Variations of the word “settler” appear throughout, in double entendres. One could think of Wang’s poetry as an introspective land acknowledgement.
Tell commands the reader to stare at the 1997-headlining murder of Reena Virk, the BC teenager swarmed by a gang of high schoolers then killed in a BC ravine. Stare, fixate on, and absorb the reality of the scene, texture of her skin, and inner life cut off.
“Trials” sets the stage, pleading with the universe not for criminal justice, but a balance where the involuntary silence of the victim’s jacket is not tragically mirrored by the voluntary silence of her murderer: