Saturday October 29: 1:30 pm - 2:50 pm

1:30 P.M. Nothing Personal: Poets Who Write About Their Lives

with Luke Hathaway, Shani Mootoo, Farzana Doctor, Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang, and Tanis MacDonald.

BSIA Room #142


Writing poetry from our own experience has a long lyric tradition, but what does that mean in the contemporary moment? What happens when poets write their personal histories? 


Join Luke Hathaway, Shani Mootoo, Farzana Dcotor, and Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang in conversation with Tanis MacDonald as they discuss the twists, turns, and clashes of experience with poetry.

  • LUKE HATHAWAY is a trans poet, librettist, and theatre maker. His mythopoeic word-worlds have given rise to new choral works by Colin Labadie, James Rolfe, and Zachary Wadsworth, and to the folk opera The Sign of Jonas, a collaboration with Benton Roark. He is the author of four books of poems, one of which (Years, Months, and Days, 2018) was named a Best Book of the Year in the New York Times. His latest book, The Affirmations, is published in print and as an audiobook by Biblioasis. Hathaway makes music with Daniel Cabena as part of the metamorphosing ensemble ANIMA, and has mentored new librettists as a faculty member for Amadeus Choir’s Choral Composition Lab. He teaches English and Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s University in Kjipuktuk/Halifax.

  • FARZANA DOCTOR is a Toronto-based author, activist and a Registered Social Worker Psychotherapist. She has published four critically acclaimed novels, including Seven, which Ms. Magazine described as “fully feminist and ambitiously bold”, and was shortlisted for the Trillium and Evergreen Awards. Her new poetry collection, You Still Look The Same, which Quill & Quire has called “a powerful and necessary collection that breaks silences” was just released in May 2022.

  • SARAH YI-MEI TSIANG is the author of the poetry books Status Update (2013), which was nominated for the Pat Lowther Award, and the Gerald Lampert award winning Sweet Devilry (2011). Her work has been longlisted (2018) and shortlisted (2019) for the CBC Poetry Prize, as well as the UK’s Forward Award (2020), and has appeared in anthologies such as Best of the Best Canadian Poetry. She currently works as the Poetry Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine and the Creative Director for Poetry In Voice.

  • TANIS MACDONALD is the author of Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female (2022), Mobile: poems(2019), and five other books. She is the co-editor of the multi-genre anthology GUSH: Menstrual manifestos for our times (2018) and the Editor of the Laurier Poetry Series. Winner of the Open Seasons Awards for Nonfiction and the Bliss Carman Prize for Poetry, she lives in Waterloo on traditional Haudenosaunee territory, and is originally from Treaty One territory on the prairies. Tanis is Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and hosts the podcast Watershed Writers.