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Posted: Tuesday April 13, 2010
Fred Wah

Fred Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, in 1939, and he grew up in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia.

Studying at UBC in the early 1960s, he was one of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH.

After graduate work with Robert Creeley at the University of New Mexico and with Charles Olson at SUNY, Buffalo, he returned to the Kootenays in the late 1960s, founding the writing program at DTUC before moving on to teach at the University of Calgary. A pioneer of online publishing, he has mentored a generation of some of the most exciting new voices in poetry today.

Of his seventeen books of poetry, is a door received the BC Book Prize, Waiting For Saskatchewan received the Governor-General’s Award and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry. Diamond Grill, a biofiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian café won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction, and his collection of critical writing, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, received the Gabrielle Roy Prize.

Wah was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012. He served as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

To learn more about his work, visit The Fred Wah Digital Archive



LATEST Fred Wah NEWS

March 2017 : Thank you, poetry lovers of the eastern US!

March 2017 : All-Star Talon poets on tour in the eastern U.S.

March 2017 : Talon book design in the press

October 2016 : Fred Wah and Colin Browne at the Vancouver Writers’ Fest this past weekend

July 2016 : Tonight in New York City, the Poets House Poetry Publication Showcase opens New York City

July 2016 : Fall 2016 previews!

January 2016 : Best of 2015

December 2015 : CBC’s Best Books of 2015

November 2015 : Scree has arrived!

November 2015 : Tonight! The Western Front in Vancouver launches its archives

November 2015 : Scree is launched! Watch the video, see the photos

September 2015 : Fred Wah sure is busy these days

August 2015 : Highlights from the CBC, Q&Q and 49th Shelf fall previews

July 2015 : JAMIE REID 1941–2015

June 2015 : Now Available! The Talonbooks Fall 2015 Catalogue

February 2015 : Today on the Mountain: the Daphne Marlatt Archive Inauguration

January 2014 : Canada’s Sixth Poet Laureate Announced

January 2014 : Sherrill Grace Appointed to Order of Canada

July 2013 : Fred Wah Appointed to the Order of Canada

BOOK AWARDS

Scree

One of the best 75 books of 2015 (CBC Books)

BOOK AWARDS

Sentenced to Light

Finalist for the 2009 ReLit Award for Poetry

BOOK AWARDS

is a door

Winner of the 2010 BC Book Prize: Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

QUOTES OF NOTE

Scree [softcover]

Scree, a handsome and expansive collection containing almost thirty years of Wah’s poetry, is both an introduction to and overview of the writer’s powerful but understated literary oeuvre. … As his body of work expands over time, so does its breadth and insight, even as the author breaks, disrupts and refines poetic form. Like the mountain that is a recurring image throughout Wah’s work, the vistas of Scree are both subtle and breathtaking…”
Malahat Review

“This is surely the best poetry book of the year! Such care and thoroughness have been taken here to let each important early publication keep its style and colour and format. This is a heavy book full of some of the lightest, halest experimental poetry in Canada. It is so important that this work is being done, both the writing and the editing.”
—Phil Hall, BookThug

“The book is gorgeous, … attempting to keep as close as possible the integrity of the original publications into a single volume. The resulting volume – shift of image, colour and font – is a breathtaking accomplishment that does far more than simply replicate a selection of thirty years of writing and publishing, but work[s] to present some sense of what those early publications might have felt like in their original forms …”
—rob mclennan’s blog

QUOTES OF NOTE

Scree

Scree, a handsome and expansive collection containing almost thirty years of Wah’s poetry, is both an introduction to and overview of the writer’s powerful but understated literary oeuvre. … As his body of work expands over time, so does its breadth and insight, even as the author breaks, disrupts and refines poetic form. Like the mountain that is a recurring image throughout Wah’s work, the vistas of Scree are both subtle and breathtaking…”
Malahat Review

“This is surely the best poetry book of the year! Such care and thoroughness have been taken here to let each important early publication keep its style and colour and format. This is a heavy book full of some of the lightest, halest experimental poetry in Canada. It is so important that this work is being done, both the writing and the editing.”
—Phil Hall, BookThug

“The book is gorgeous, … attempting to keep as close as possible the integrity of the original publications into a single volume. The resulting volume – shift of image, colour and font – is a breathtaking accomplishment that does far more than simply replicate a selection of thirty years of writing and publishing, but work[s] to present some sense of what those early publications might have felt like in their original forms…”
—rob mclennan’s blog

QUOTES OF NOTE

is a door

“Wah’s poems continually return us to … the realization of our shared, not individual, life.”

— Montreal Gazette

“These four sequences are what we once called trips, not so much to Mexico and Thailand and the Koots, as out of syntax toward a world in which words are things indeed, or at least are treated as such. You may feel as if you’ve had a stroke and are trying mightily to read right. Predicates can appear as if out of the dark. This is where Wah has been leading us, conscious as all get out, innocent as a lynx. This is what happens to a language when someone finally gets it away from the people it was named after.”

— George Bowering

“Without a doubt, is a door is a dazzler, a thoughtful, playful and stunningly skillful four-part foray into the nature of ‘suddenness’ and its inherent ability ‘to subvert closure’ on the brink of unexpected entrances and exits.”

— Globe & Mail

QUOTES OF NOTE

Sentenced to Light

“The cover as a composition is inspired like the whole book—there is a minimalism in it—it is so structured yet never over-wrought—the shadow of the figure and camera ’producing’ the composition (literally) of the book fully—here then—I think—I place it next to Nichol’s Martyrology. I think too it’s as great, as astonishing as bissett’s major self-anthologized books. The ’visual’ intelligence that informs this book is extraordinary! I admire it’s clarity—’Sentenced’ so far is my favorite poem in the book but that says nothing—there are too many! His book is an exhibition, a performance, a documentary and the montage, its potency, is seamless. This book is an extraordinary gift.”

— Carl Peters

“For those new to Wah’s work, Sentenced to Light provides an accessible and beautifully produced introduction to a major poet. For longtime readers, it offers a reminder that Wah, as he enters the fifth decade of his career, is continually returning to origins—to memory, vision, and the body—in renewing his poetry. ‘The cradle,’ Wah declares ‘ is where I want to be.’”

— Boog City

“One has the sense of Wah’s effort to catch inspiration in its everydayness and at its most raw and vital.”

— Canadian Literature

QUOTES OF NOTE

Selected Poems: Loki Is Buried at Smoky Creek

“The concept which dominates Wah’s writing is that the geographical and historical particulars which immediately surround a man not only contain all history but together form a place that is for that man the true centre of the cosmos.”
—Frank Davey, From There to Here


Copyright Talonbooks 1963-2017

 

 

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.


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