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An early member of the avant-garde TISH group, which turned Canadian poetry for the first time to a focus on language, Marlatt’s career has spanned five decades and a range of formal styles and concerns. Intertidal: The Collected Earlier Poems offers Marlatt’s perceptual and Vancouver-centric work of the 1970s, her feminist writing of the 1980s, her later collaborative work, and her explorations of environment. Intertidal collects a broad selection of this poet’s groundbreaking work, including poetry from sixteen published collections and a number of previously unpublished or uncollected poems. The collection includes an introduction by Susan Holbrook as well as a bibliography of the work of this West Coast, deconstructionist, lesbian, and feminist writer. Intertidal is the definitive oeuvre of Daphne Marlatt’s poetry exploring the city, feminism, and the environment.
This is the third volume in a new series of collected works published by Talonbooks. The first two are Peacock Blue: The Collected Poems of Phyllis Webb and Scree: The Collected Early Poems of Fred Wah, 1962–1991.
In 1776, at the age of sixty-four, an embittered Jean-Jacques Rousseau took to rambling. Feeling rejected, neglected, and condemned, he turned his back on the society in which he had never managed to feel at ease and found peace in wandering the fields outside Paris, noting interesting flora and fauna, and ruminating on his life and career. Rousseau jotted down his musings on playing cards he carried in his pocket; these notes would form the basis for his last book, Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire, translated as Reveries of the Solitary Walker (or A Solitary Walker). Unfinished at his death and published posthumously in 1782, the Reveries reiterate and meditate upon many of Rousseau’s central themes: the joys of solitude, the corrupting influence of society, the fragility of happiness and of human relations, and the great, healing solace of nature (not to mention his obsession with enemies and persecution).
Like Rousseau, Strang too has taken to wandering, although on her bicycle, finding cycling particularly conducive to a slow, non-deliberate thinking, an almost subconscious contemplation. Biking around Vancouver, she returned to several issues of lifelong interest, her own version of Rousseau’s obsessions: the difficulties of living an anti-capitalist life, the continued invisibility of much of women’s labour, the paradoxes of daily life, the nature and implications of calculations of value, and the complexities of sustainability. What is to be done, she wonders?
In homage to the playing-card origins of Rousseau’s Reveries, Strang’s Reveries of a Solitary Biker is divided into four suits, which she often performs with musical accompaniment by her frequent collaborator, clarinetist François Houle.
Wednesday, April 11 2018
@ Octopus Books
116 Third Ave.
Hosted by Jennifer Baker, PhD Candidate, English Literature/Specialization in Canadian Studies, University of Ottawa
Jennifer Baker is a poet and doctoral candidate currently living and studying in Ottawa. Her first
chapbook, Abject Lessons, was published by above/ground press in 2014. Her poetry, reviews, and
interviews have since appeared in a variety of Canadian magazines, including Ottawater, illiterature,
Dusie, The Journal of Canadian Poetry, The Bull Calf Review, and forthcoming in Canthius.
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.
A founding member of the Institute for Domestic Research, and former member of the Kootenay School of Writing collective, Catriona Strang is the author of Low Fancy and co-author with the late Nancy Shaw of Busted, Cold Trip, and Light Sweet Crude. Her collection of poetic responses to Proust, Corked, was published in 2014. She frequently collaborates with composer Jacqueline Leggatt and clarinetist François Houle. She lives in Vancouver, where she and her two kids are active in the local home learning community.