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Literary Criticism Canadian

Permissions: TISH Poetics 1963 Thereafter -

by (author) Fred Wah

Ronsdale Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2014
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2014
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The year 2013 being the fiftieth anniversary of the Vancouver Poetry Conference at UBC, Wah uses the occasion to outline how a group of young poets at UBC (and this included George Bowering, Jamie Read, and himself among others) were discovering, through their publication of poetry in the newsletter TISH, that it was possible to write in new forms. The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference brought home to them that they had "permission" to shatter the poem's strict line patterns. Wah notes that there was never a TISH manifesto but that the conference confirmed the group's sense that the 1960s would bring into being a new kind of poetry, that he now had permission to "disturb the words," as in jazz, to play around with the music, to move into a poetry beyond the restrictions and weight of tradition and authority. It was also, according to Wah, to be a turn away from the stubborn persistence of the lyric "I," what Charles Olson in "Projective Verse" called "the private-soul-at-any-public-wall." In reflecting on the arc of his own publishing career, Wah notes that a new importance was given to place, but place was not seen as static, for poetry now could be used as a "tool" in a larger investigation of "process" in the creation of the individual within time and place. Wah also realized that he continued to want a sense of collectivity, and he went on to create and publish a number of small literary magazines. In his more recent writing there has been a new fusion of identitywith the concept of process along with race, and the resulting concept of hybridity.

About the author

Born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan in 1939, celebrated Canadian poet Fred Wah was raised in the interior of British Columbia. He is the author of over 20 published works of poetry and prose-poetry, including the award-winning creative non-fiction Diamond Grill, the tenth anniversary edition of which was released in the fall of 2006. Other notable titles by Wah include his book of poetry Waiting For Saskatchewan (Turnstone Press), winner of a Governor General’s Award in 1985, and Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Writing in Canadian literature. In 2008, he published a collection of poetic image/text projects titled Sentenced to Light (Talonbooks), and in 2010, he won the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Prize for poetry for is a door (Talonbooks).Fred Wah was one of the founding editors of the poetry journal TISH. After graduate work in literature and linguistics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the State University of New York in Buffalo, where he worked with Robert Creeley and Charles Olson, he returned to Canada. He has been involved in teaching internationally in poetry and poetics since the early 1960s. In 2011, Wah became Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate, the fifth poet to do so. In 2013, he was made an Officer in the Order of Canada. Fred Wah currently works and lives in Vancouver.

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