Summer institute offers public an opportunity to hear from CanLit’s best
The royalty of Canadian literature is on campus this week at UBC.
Five of Canada’s most celebrated poets – award winners all, among them two Parliamentary Poet Laureates and a UBC writing professor – will share the stage at UBC’s Okanagan campus for a public reading of their works on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 from 3 to 5 p.m.
The readings, free and open to everyone, take place in the University Centre Ballroom (UNC 200), 3272 University Way, University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, Kelowna.
The five invited poets are all acclaimed Canadian writers:
- George Bowering is an award-winning author and poet, most recently feted as winner of the 2011 BC Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. He was Canada’s first Parliamentary Poet Laureate;
- Frank Davey is one of the founding editors of the Canadian literary magazine Tish, along with Bowering and Wah, and held the Carl F. Klinck Chair of Canadian Literature at Western University from 1990 to 2005;
- Daphne Marlatt is a Member of the Order of Canada (2006) and winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize for The Given (2009);
- Sharon Thesen is the author of 12 books of poetry, winner of the Pat Lowther Award for her book A Pair of Scissors (2000), a three-time nominee for the Governor General’s Award (1984, 1987, 2006), and is a UBC Okanagan campus professor in Creative Writing in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.;
- Fred Wah is Canada’s current Parliamentary Poet Laureate, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in June;
- Four of the prize-winning poets are UBC alumni. George Bowering (BA ‘60; MA ‘63; D.Litt 94), Frank Davey (BA ‘61; MA ‘63), Daphne Marlatt (BA ‘64), and Fred Wah (BA ‘62) are all UBC alumni (degrees noted are their UBC degrees only).
“It’s a rare opportunity to have these five poets together reading at the same event, and UBC has been a particularly special place for them,” says Karis Shearer, assistant professor of English in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
“Sharon Thesen is a current faculty member here in Creative Studies and has been an inspiration for many student writers,” says Shearer, who organized the readings. “The four other poets were undergraduates themselves at UBC in the 1960s where they began developing their craft, mentored by their professor, Warren Tallman.”
The readings also mark a seminal event that occurred 50 years ago.
Bowering, Marlatt, and Wah all attended the 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference at UBC as undergraduate or graduate students, while Davey also attended the poetry readings. That event featured such rising, influential luminaries as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Charles Olson, and Margaret Avison.
Thursday’s poetry readings are part of Editing Modernism On and Off the Page, a week-long academic summer institute being attended by literary scholars from across Canada. The event is sponsored by UBC, Editing Modernism in Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the UBC Alumni Office.
“The summer institute brings together participants to discuss editorial theory, or the philosophy behind editing books, archives, and audio recordings,” says Shearer, who is co-directing the institute with Dean Irvine, associate professor of English at Dalhousie University.
“We’ll be studying different editorial approaches and problems – essentially, how texts come to look as they do when they reach readers, whether on the printed page or in digital format,” says Shearer. “We’ll also be thinking about how to improve or enhance reader experience with texts, whether digital or audio.”