Metaphysical Dictionary
Illustrations by

Usually we open a dictionary looking for an answer. Svetlana Lilova's Metaphysical Dictionary is different: you're more likely to come away with a question. It's a collection of very short poems, framed as term and definition, alphabetically sorted. The individual entries may fascinate or frustrate, amuse or confuse. But as you read through the entirety, or skip from page to page, the terms echo and reverberate, and sometimes fold together into transient origami.

An enigmatic, whimsical, piercing and utterly unique book, illustrated by Graham Falk, whose drawings and cartoons reflect the tonal variety of Lilova's poems.

CDN $14.95

Svetlana Lilova's Metaphysical Dictionary is a compendium of oblique definitions; a taxonomy of gists.

Psychological and emotional in content, yet pared down to the bare minimum and presented with complete lexical discipline, the Metaphysical Dictionary shows us an author grappling to explain the world to herself. Maybe this is something you do too - in fragments of thought in a journal, or in a sketchbook of brief impressions.

As poems, these are reductions, or Pound's gists and piths in extremis. They are beyond spare: all payload, no bulkhead. Sometimes an entry is simply the germ from which another poet might have grown a conventional poem. For example, witness:

shoulders   the natural uniform

The real reward comes as the definitions accumulate. They fold back on themselves; elusive shapes crystallize and dissolve like transient origami.

Psychologically acute, suffused with feeling, with a personal narrative slipping between the lines, this book invites total immersion in the private language of its creator, and conveys (us to) the heart of a playful, enigmatic, whimsical, sometimes pained but always hopeful interior.

Profusely illustrated with 65 drawings by Graham Falk, whose charming cartoons, melancholy flowers, and effervescent still-lifes perfectly echo the tonal variety of Lilova's words.


This sly, whimsical debut collection by Toronto poet Svetlana Lilova is not much more than pocket-sized, but its poetic reach is expansive... At their best, these epigrammatic gems resonate profoundly.

Barb Carey at Toronto Star

I love this daring collection. Lilova is a veritable artist of consciousness - her poems are laconic Pollack drips of connotational calligraphy - true impressionism. Sober and surreal at once.

Pavel Somov at Amazon

A series of beautiful short poems and abstract sentences. The concept of this book is so unique and the end product, in both the physical and written sense, is just mesmerizing. This book required my entire heart and mind whilst reading it.

Dannii Elle at Goodreads

Profound, whimsical and wise, delightfully illustrated by Graham Falk. Lilova offers us a compass, a roadmap, a mirror and a prism through which we can distill our lived experience and inner selves in this small, elegant volume.

Educateria at Educateria Gift Guide
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Svetlana Lilova

Svetlana Lilova is a Toronto writer and poet. Her Metaphysical Dictionary is published by Dumagrad.

Publication details
May 1 2016
96 pages
List price:
CDN$14.95 / US$12.95
7" x 4.75". Printed on FSC Rolland 70# Natural at Coach House Printing, Toronto. Cover by Kisscut Design.

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