Fred Wah

The dark containers (PoemTalk #117)

Larissa Lai, 'Nascent Fashion'

Left to right: Colin Browne, Daphne Marlatt, and Fred Wah.

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Larissa Lai’s poetry here “is on the move between things,” as Fred Wah puts it in this episode of PoemTalk, for which Al Filreis also gathered Daphne Marlatt and Colin Browne to discuss Lai’s long poem Nascent Fashion (published together with several other long poems in Automaton Biographies). Fred, Daphne, and Colin were on tour together as a Western Canadian trio for readings and events along the US east coast. Fortunately for PoemTalk and Kelly Writers House, Philadelphia was one of their stops.

The dark containers (PoemTalk #117)

Larissa Lai, 'Nascent Fashion'

Left to right: Colin Browne, Daphne Marlatt, and Fred Wah.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Larissa Lai’s poetry here “is on the move between things,” as Fred Wah puts it in this episode of PoemTalk, for which Al Filreis also gathered Daphne Marlatt and Colin Browne to discuss Lai’s long poem Nascent Fashion (published together with several other long poems in Automaton Biographies). Fred, Daphne, and Colin were on tour together as a Western Canadian trio for readings and events along the US east coast. Fortunately for PoemTalk and Kelly Writers House, Philadelphia was one of their stops.

Fred Wah and Daphne Marlatt

Video recording of one poem by each

Daphne Marlatt, Fred Wah, and Colin Browne visited Philadelphia on March 15, 2017. They joined me for a recording of an episode of PoemTalk on Larissa Lai’s Nascent Fashion, and then give a triple reading at the Penn Book Center. That reading was recorded on audio and will be available soon at the poets’ PennSound pages. Meantime, I captured performances of two poems as video recordings — Fred Wah reading (his encore poem) from his great book Is a Door, and Daphne Marlatt reading a piece from her Vancouver Poems.

A short interview with Christine Leclerc

Christine Leclerc is a Vancouver-based author and activist. She is the author of Counterfeit (2008) and Oilywood (2013, winner of the 2014 bpNichol Chapbook Award) and an editor of portfolio milieu (2004) and The Enpipe Line: 70,000+ km of poetry written in resistance to the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal (2010). Leclerc is a University of British Columbia Creative Writing Program graduate whose poetry, fiction and essays have appeared internationally. She is a communications manager by day and has been known to lead community theatre at corporate headquarters and occupy oil rigs at sea.

A short interview with Fred Wah

Fred Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 1939, but he grew up in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. He studied music and English literature at the University of British Columbia in the early 1960s where he was one of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH. After graduate work in literature and linguistics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the State University of New York at Buffalo, he returned to the Kootenays in the late 1960s where he taught at Selkirk College and was the founding coordinator of the writing program at David Thompson University Centre. He retired from the University of Calgary in 2003 and now lives in Vancouver. He has been editorially involved with a number of literary magazines over the years, such as Open Letter and West Coast Line.

Geomantic riposte: 'Chinese Blue'

Weyman Chan was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1963, to immigrant parents from China. Chan has published poems and short stories in a wide variety of literary journals and anthologies. He won the 2003 Alberta Book Award for his first book of poetry, Before a Blue Sky Moon and his second book, Noise From the Laundry, was a finalist for the 2008 Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the 2009 Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry. Chan’s most recent collection Chinese Blue draws on more than two thousand years of ancient Chinese tradition that present diverse philosophical modes of being in contemporary times.

Fred Wah named Canadian laureate

(c) Lawrence Schwartzwald

We at Jacket2 happily take note of this news report — among others, of course — announcing the selection of Fred Wah as “parliamentary poet laureate” of Canada. The photograph here was taken by Lawrence Schwartzwald.

Saskatchewan writer Fred Wah named parliamentary poet laureate
Winnipeg Free Press, December 21, 2011 

OTTAWA - Saskatchewan-born writer Fred Wah has been appointed as the new parliamentary poet laureate.

Wah is the fifth poet to hold the office.

He replaces Pierre DesRuisseaux, whose two-year term expired earlier this year.

The post was created in 2001, with a mandate to write poetry, especially for use in Parliament on important occasions, to sponsor poetry readings and advise the parliamentary library.

The poet is appointed by the Speaker of the Commons and Senate on the recommendation of a selection committee which included, among others, the commissioner of official languages and the head of the Canada Council.

Wah is a well-known poet who won a Governor General's Award in 1986 and is on the faculty of the Banff Centre for the Arts.

On the other side of the tracks (PoemTalk #44)

Fred Wah, "Race, to go"

from left: Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derksen, Bob Perelman, Fred Wah

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derksen, and Bob Perelman joined Al Filreis to talk about a poem in a sixteen-poem series by Fred Wah going under the title “Discount Me In.” That series and several others were brought together in a book called Is a Door.  Our poem, “Race, to go,” is the first — a proem of sorts — in the “Discount Me In” group, and we have occasion during our discussion to talk about the several valences of discounting. I don't count. The census misses me because I fall between the cracks in racial categories. The neo-liberal moment has cheapened me. Both positively and negatively racially charged language around food, freely punned and intensely oral, turns casual by-talk into rebarbative backhand (creating an effect distinctly pleasurable) and brings into the poem the entire story of official Canadian multiculturalism.

On the other side of the tracks (PoemTalk #44)

Fred Wah, 'Race, to go'

from left: Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derksen, Bob Perelman, Fred Wah

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derksen, and Bob Perelman joined Al Filreis to talk about a poem in a sixteen-poem series by Fred Wah going under the title “Discount Me In.” That series and several others were brought together in a book called Is a Door. Our poem, “Race, to go,” is the first — a proem of sorts — in the “Discount Me In” group, and we have occasion during our discussion to talk about the several valences of discounting. I don't count. The census misses me because I fall between the cracks in racial categories. The neo-liberal moment has cheapened me. Both positively and negatively racially charged language around food, freely punned and intensely oral, turns casual by-talk into rebarbative backhand (creating an effect distinctly pleasurable) and brings into the poem the entire story of official Canadian multiculturalism.

On Ed Dorn, 'The Newly Fallen'

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