AL HUNTER

at the First Nations Longhouse

Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 6:30pm

Robson Reading Series events are free and open to the public but registration is recommended. To register for this event, please click here.

This event will take place at the First Nations Longhouse at UBC and is located at 1985 West Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z2.

Al, Beautiful Razor portrait 2010

Photo credit Stephan Hoglund

beatifulrazor-coverfrontjpg1

In this fluid collection we enter a galactic expanse where absence, distance and fire repel and attract love-bodies in a winged-whirl of magnetic mad flight. Loss, emptiness, space, desire, blood, memory; all devour themselves in the combustions of love without self. The you/other may be interchangeable, never static or frozen or attainable. In these sharp-beaked bird-worlds there is “no going back” – at best, bodies meet only “flame to flame,” mutable and razor-like in feathery, impermanent forms. I find Hunter’s new work a rare melding of Blues, Kabbalah, and personal transcendence– a piercing, hard-won angelic love mantra. A blazing tour de force!
- Juan Felipe Herrera, California Poet Laureate

What lies here are the vagaries of a heart wounded, shattered, and redeemed by love. Such generosity of spirit deserves acclaim. A bravura work.
- Richard Wagamese, author of Indian Horse

Al Hunter is an Anishinaabe writer who has published poetry in books and journals around the world, taught extensively, and performed internationally, including, at the International Poetry Festival of Medellin.

A member of Rainy River First Nations and former chief, Hunter has expertise in land claims negotiations, and is a longstanding activist on behalf of indigenous rights and wellness, and environmental responsibility. Hunter lives in Manitou Rapids, Rainy River First Nations in Ontario.

Al is also the founder and president of Good Life for Young Peoples (www.goodlifeforyoungpeoples.com).

WALID BITAR, BASMA KAVANAGH and MISSY MARSTON

at the Robson Reading Series

Thursday, February 21, 2013, 7pm

UBC Bookstore at Robson Square

Robson Reading Series events are free and open to the public but registration is recommended. To register for this event, please click here.

 

    They have no maps. Ours, I’ll redraw.
    Isn’t itself, their neck of the woods;
    needs a rest – something more than a nap,
    and less than death, though death wouldn’t hurt.

In Divide and Rule, Walid Bitar delivers a sequence of dramatic monologues, variations on the theme of power, each in rhymed quatrains. Though the pieces grow out of Bitar’s personal experiences over the last decade, both in North America and the Middle East, he is not primarily a confessional writer. His work might be called cubist, the perspectives constantly shifting, point followed by counterpoint, subtle phrase by savage outburst. Bitar’s enigmatic speakers are partially rational creatures, have some need to explain, and may succeed in partially explaining, but, in the end, communication and subterfuge are inseparable – must, so to speak, co-exist.

Walid Bitar was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1961. He immigrated to Canada in 1969. His previous poetry collections are Maps with Moving Parts (Brick Books, 1988)2 Guys on Holy Land (Wesleyan University Press, 1993)Bastardi Puri (Porcupine’s Quill, 2005) and The Empire’s Missing Links (Véhicule Press, 2008). From 1990 to 1991, he held a Teaching-Writing Fellowship at the University of Iowa. His newest work, Divide and Rule (Coach House Books, June 2012), is a collection of dramatic monologues. He lives in Toronto.

Basma Kavanagh’s debut collection, Distillō, engages the natural world and seeks to explore our relationship to it. Hers is a poetics of description which subverts scientific observation and the authoritative language of nomenclature for mythopoetic ends. In the opening section (“Moisture”), precipitation is dissected and categorized, but ultimately the deluge of “rain making rain, /making rain” overwhelms controlled interrogation and undulating imagery saturates everything. Nomenclature reappears elsewhere in the book, attempting to anchor object poems about west-coast flora and fauna–salmon, elk, bear, bigleaf maple, bog myrtle–which otherwise drift toward the mythworld and gesture in the direction of the ethereal and the totemic. Understanding that language can be most precise when it harbours ambiguity and surprise, Kavanagh experiments with pattern poems and the layering of multiple voices in her attempt to express “a fullness /an absence /of self.” This is a book which turns over rocks and looks under them in search of truth in its soft, damp hiding places, poems which instruct us to “[d]escend. Blend /your knowing with the breath of earth”.

Basma Kavanagh is a painter, poet and letterpress printer living in Kentville, Nova Scotia. She produces artist’s books under the imprint Rabbit Square Books. Her poems have appeared in the chapbook A Rattle of Leaves, published by Red Dragonfly Press, and included in anthologies in the United States.

The Love Monster is the tall tale of one woman’s struggle with mid-life issues. The main character, Margaret H. Atwood, has psoriasis, a boring job and a bad attitude. Her cheating husband has left her. And none of her pants fit any more. Missy Marston takes the reader on a hilarious journey of recovery. Hope comes in the form of a dope-smoking senior citizen, a religious fanatic, a good lawyer and a talking turtle (not to mention Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Warren Zevon, Neil Armstrong and a yogi buried deep underground). And, of course, hope comes in the form of a love-sick alien speaking in the voice of Donald Sutherland. More than an irreverent joyride, The Love Monster is also a sweet and tender look at the pain and indignity of being an adult human and a sincere exploration of the very few available remedies: art, love, religion, relentless optimism, and alien intervention.

Missy Marston‘s writing has appeared in various publications, including Grain and Arc Poetry Magazine. She was the winner of the Lillian I. Found Award for her poem, “Jesus Christ came from my home town.” As explained in her National Post Afterword columns, Missy Marston loves Margaret Atwood, aliens and Donald Sutherland. Her first novel, The Love Monster, is an ode to all three. She has been called “an irreverent Canadian” by Commentary Magazine and “weird, funny and moving” by The Globe and Mail. She is fine with that. The Love Monster is her first novel. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

 



Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by Green College’s Principal’s Series: Interdisciplinarity In Action.  Bluesy, opinionated, sly, self-chastising and tender, UBC Creative Writing professor Rhea Tregebov’s All Souls’—her first  collection since 2004—commands a range of tones wider and bolder than anything in her previous six books. All Souls’ bracingly addresses the quandary at the heart of our present moment: the fear of change and the fear of standing still. Enriched by a sharp palate and crackling with confidence, Tregebov’s new poems capture life in all its rueful aspects, and do so with a lyricism of considerable beauty and power.  Rhea Tregebov, is professor at the Creative Writing Program, UBC.  This lecture is part of the ongoing Green College Principal’s Series: Thinking at the Edge of Reading: Interdisciplinarity in Action.

Biography

Rhea Tregebov is the author of poetry, fiction and children’s picture books. She is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, where she teaches poetry, children’s literature and literary translation. Her work has received a number of literary awards, including the J. I. Segal Award for fiction, the Pat Lowther Award, the Prairie Schooner Readers’ Choice Award, and the Malahat Review Long Poem Award.


Select Books Available at UBC Library

Tregebov, Rhea. (2012). All Souls. Montreal, Quebec : Signal Editions. [Link]

Tregebov, Rhea. (2009). The Knife Sharpener’s Bell. Regina, Saskatchewan: Coteau Books. [Link]

Tregebov, Rhea (Ed.). (2007). Arguing With The Storm: Stories By Yiddish Women Writers. Toronto, Ontario: Sumach Press. [Link]


UBC Library Research Guide

Literature Reviews




Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as part of the Robson Reading Series. Drawing on more than two thousand years of ancient Chinese tradition that present diverse philosophical modes of being, whether it be the spiritual teachings of Kong Zi or Lao Tzu, the military dicta of Sun Tzu or the complex sensibilities expressed by poets such as Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, Li Bai, Du Fu and Wang Wei in the wake of a tumultuous imperial government, Weyman Chan restates these concerns of the past while addressing other “first world problems” in our own contemporary era. In Chinese Blue, the poet “character” sifts through the earth’s long history of geological layering and forgetting, grappling with the perpetual fragmentation of identity. The poet struggles with the prospect of any inky blots that suggest the finished work of a creator, subject to expediencies—ambition, romance, betrayal—that leave us flawed and human, taking the reader on a spiritual quest burdened by an endless sea of flotsam. In a stoic attempt to reconcile biological drives with a stance of non-presence and to find a place beyond “perpetual worry” where he can accept ancestral mistakes while tentatively channelling the voices of advertising that condition our vernacular and massage our minds—offering a cliché happy ending to what remains of our physical existence—the poet finds himself wading through jazzily visionary delineations of the modern city, numbed and soundly crushed between “the word and the thing.” Here is Weyman Chan at his most fiercely ironic, tracing a lineage he interprets subconsciously and through the intricacies of its raw genetic material, with keenly biting language that echoes the rhythms of Qu Yuan in contemplation of his own mortality beside the flowing waters of impermanence.

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