Rita Wong

Of the relational local (2 of 2)

A petri dish of ecopoetics, continued


Neither a survey of contemporary practice, nor a conference report, this ‘plenary’ is a petri dish of ideas occasioned by the 2015 convening of ASLE ( limited by my own ability to digest the conference offerings).

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.

Short Range Poetic Device, 2010

Short Range Poetic Device was a four episode radio show of discussions with and readings by poets, hosted by Stephen Collis and Roger Farr, as part of the alternative media resistance to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, February 12-28, 2010.

Short Range Poetic Device
Poetry and Poetics Streaming Against the Totality
Vivo Media Arts, Vancouver, British Columbia, February 16-17 and 23-24, 2010

#1, February 16, 2010:

  • Stephen Collis, “Tactical Propositions, or, Pwn the Odium”
  • Roger Farr, from “Secure Channels” (Surplus, 2006)
  • Donato Mancini, “If Violence (Hey You)” (Buffet World, 2011)


Rita Wong’s work is a complex endeavour to understand the ecology of the animals of language, not to settle their moving limbs and establish control, but rather to be animal with their living existence and breathe with their breaths. Living on Coast Salish land (also known as Vancouver), her work gestures, dares to understand the culture and challenges of the land, strives to be citizen, responsive and responsible. 

Poetry and activism

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada

A much-photographed, controversial mural by artist Jesse Corcoran at the Crying Room Gallery in Vancouver

Jules Boykoff

 As a youngster I had unequivocally positive feelings about the Olympics. In part this was because I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin where winter sports were bigger than Jesus. During the 1980 Winter Olympics, which took place in Lake Placid, New York, I cheered mightily for fellow Madisonian Eric Heiden as he won five gold medals in speed skating, yelping at the tv screen as he swirled elegantly around the rink. This brought the poet out of ABC’s Keith Jackson who later described him as “a spring breeze off the top of the Rockies.” My parents even got me a stylish Eric-Heiden-esque rainbow hat, which I wore with great pride. (Later I attended Madison West High School where Heiden also went). That same Olympics the US hockey team won the so-called “miracle on ice.” The moment the hockey team won the gold-medal game is etched in the chalk and bones of my then-10-year-old mind. I remember the unbridled exhilaration pumping through my little body.

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