An astonishing series of unique collaborative image-text projects, Sentenced to Light privileges its poetic and formal textual space outside most of the images that are its original twins and offers the reader a glimpse of the dialectic of larger conversations, the unpredictable, improvisatory bavardage that whispers between words and pictures in a space we call culture.
“Anecdotal Waters” is an invited response to a mixed-media installation by Mireille Perron and Paul Woodrow. “Articulations” was printed on a series of fifty paintings by Calgary artist Bev Tosh and incorporated in both an installation and a performance of the work. “All Americans” was serialized for an installation on the Minnesota Massacre of 1862. A biotext of landscape and memory, “Twain” consists of textual improvisations provoked by and situated alongside six poems that artist Marian Penner Bancroft applied directly to the walls among the photographs in her exhibition “By Land and Sea (Prospect and Refuge).” The alphabet of “jingo cards” was written for a collaborative performance piece with Vancouver multi-media artist Haruko Okano called “High Bridi Tea” that gestated years later into her jargon art project “Homing Pidgin.” “Pop Goes the Hood,” was written for a video-text performance commissioned from video artist Henry Tsang and poet Fred Wah. “Me Too” pays ghostly homage to the visual and textual work of Roy Kiyooka. The two “transcreations” are part of photographer Ernie Kroeger’s “Wild Writing” project that uses his photographically treated rubbings of the glyphs left by the Mountain Pine Beetle.
The series of ppretences (prose-poem sentences) was written for “Pays Maya,” a show of photographer Richard Baillergeon’s Yucatan images. In the title section, the prose-poem sentences stretch to comprehend the vanishing edges of lens, eye and syntax within Mexican photographer Eric Jervaise’s black-and-white photos, made with his hand-built panoramic view camera.
Fred Wah was one of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH. Of his 17 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.
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