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Daphne Marlatt was born in Melbourne in 1941 and spent much of her childhood in Malaysia before emigrating to Canada in 1951. Marlatt was at the centre of the West Coast poetry movement of the 1960s, studying at the University of British Columbia and with many of Donald Allen’s New American Poets, most notably Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan. Much of her postmodernist writing would be attuned to the adjustments, struggles, and accomplishments of immigrants. While Marlatt attended UBC (1960–1964), her literary associations with the loosely affiliated Tish group encouraged her non-conformist approach to language and etymological explorations.
She was a co-founding editor of two literary magazines: periodics and Tessera. She co-edited West Coast Review, Island, Capilano Review, and TISH. In 2004 she was appointed as the first writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University in three decades. She directed the Fiction stream of the Banff Writing Studio from 2010 – 2012.
Her early writing includes prose narratives on the Strathcona neighborhood of Vancouver and of the former Japanese-Canadian fishing village of Steveston, and several poetry books. Selected Writing: Network is a collection of her prose and poetry, published in 1980. More of her writing can be found in The New Long Poem Anthology: 2nd Edition (2000), edited by Sharon Thesen. Daphne Marlatt’s This Tremor Love Is (2001) is a memory book – an album of love poems spanning twenty-five years, from her first writing of what was to become the opening section, A Lost Book, to later, more recent sequences.
Marlatt has been a featured poet on the Heart of a Poet series, produced in conjunction with Bravo! TV. Her recent work includes The Gull, the first Canadian play staged in the ancient, ritualized tradition of Japanese noh theatre, and winner of the prestigious 2008 Uchimura Naoya Prize.
In 2006, Marlatt was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service to Canadian culture. In 2009, she was awarded the Dorothy Livesay Prize for Poetry, for her innovative long poem The Given, and in 2012 she received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.
Photograph of Daphne Marlatt courtesy Roy Miki.
April 2013 : Monuments, Dog House, Otters!
March 2013 : Urban Change, Urban Unrest!
March 2013 : Wanda John-Kehewin and Friends on Tour!
February 2013 : Daphne Marlatt at Scrivener's Monthly in March!
February 2013 : Tracing the Lines to Launch in Vancouver!
November 2012 : Daphne Marlatt Visits Three Cities
October 2012 : BookFest Windsor 2012!
March 2012 : Zsuzsi Gartner on Studio 4 with Fanny Kiefer
December 2011 : Meredith Quartermain and Daphne Marlatt at Play Chthonics
December 2011 : Talonbooks Presents Karl and Christy Siegler's Farewell Bash
November 2011 : Shadow Catch - Daphne Marlatt Pens Libretto for Local Opera
August 2011 : Poetry is Dead: Chain Letters to the City of Vancouver
June 2011 : Bring it Home, Vancouver!
September 2010 : Invitation to the Future
September 2010 : Daphne Marlatt at the Banff Centre
BOOK AWARDSThe Gull
Winner of the prestigious 2008 Uchimura Naoya Prize
BOOK AWARDSThis Tremor Love Is
Finalist for the 2002 BC Book Prize: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize”
QUOTES OF NOTELiquidities
“In addressing the current state of her city, Daphne Marlatt has renovated her 1972 Vancouver Poems. Liquidities enhances Marlatt’s incisive poetics of the “re-,“ posited earlier in the recuperative Salvage (1991), by reshaping this ongoing composition into the “then” and “now” of both city and poem. The brilliance in her restoration is to tease the “litter” from the “littoral,” posing questions at the edges of a local that is incessantly being transformed. These poems restore our amazement when the city replies: Je est un autre.”
– Fred Wah
“Daphne Marlatt’s startling syntax cadences each phrase of Liquidities, structures its pages and tones, and grounds its music in particulars: rain, trees, streets, cafés. Embracing her Vancouver Poems of 1972, Marlatt’s new book of water rises and reverberates with signs of how life is made and unmade by contact with the tidal lands on which the city lives. The gentle knotted threads and spacings of her lines evince a poetic that is absolutely non-hierarchical, non-dominating. Liquidities enacts the very breath of a coastal city. It captures the margins of Vancouver’s economies, the tenacity of human presence, and an ethos of respect for all life that is a heritage of its First Nations, whose values still endure. ‘Marlatt,’ Elisa Sampedrín has said, ‘is perhaps the real inventor of little theatres. Her work on water is a necessary precedent to my own.’”
– Erín Moure
“ Liquidities flows from one of the most deeply felt books of poetry I know, Vancouver Poems, in which each line is acutely tuned to a city of restless words, restless water, and restless ghosts. In this new work, Daphne Marlatt revisits Vancouver Poems —they’re as marvellous and rigorous and provocative as ever—and draws us into the present, acknowledging and invoking the spirit of this place and transforming the barking of conquest and commerce into a language of rage, humility, inclusion, and love. It’s an extraordinary achievement.”
– Colin Browne
“Everything Marlatt has published is instinct with caring, intelligence, and a feel for technical innovation.”
– Ken Adachi
“Marlatt’s language conveys a rich sensuality, a sensibility honed to a fine edge.”
– Judith Fitzgerald
QUOTES OF NOTEThe Gull
— International Theatre Institute, UNESCO
QUOTES OF NOTEThis Tremor Love Is
"Marlatt’s tone is quiet but confident, questioning, dissonant, dissident, full of oppositions: detached yet passionate, tender but unsentimental, vulnerable but aloof. And while feminist, intellectual undertones are never far from the surface, there is a playfulness and a sensuality present in many of the poems."
– The Gig
“This collection is skillfully woven together.”
– Amerasia Review
"An intelligent approach to the personal and the poetic."
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.