Zeitgeist Poetry: Writing That Speaks to the Moment
With Selina Boan, Evelyn Lau, Jen Sookfong Lee, and Sarah Tsiang.
As any given presidential inauguration shows, poetry can tap into the moment.
In their new poetry collections, Selina Boan, Evelyn Lau, and Jen Sookfong Lee set the tone in ongoing and powerful conversations. Join these thoughtful, provocative poets as they explore how poetry speaks to the issues that matter most to them. What is it about poetry that makes it so uniquely suited to tackling these topics? And how do they keep their writing so timely, even after the “moment” has passed?
Selina Boan is a white settler-nehiyaw writer living on the traditional, unceded territories of thexʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples. Her debut poetry collection, Undoing Hours, was released this Spring with Nightwood Editions. Her work has been published widely, including The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 and 2020. She has received several honours, including the 2017 National Magazine Award for Poetry, and was a finalist for the 2020 CBC poetry award. She is currently a poetry editor for Rahila’s Ghost Press and is a member of The Growing Room Collective.
Evelyn Lau has authored thirteen books. Her memoir Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid (HarperCollins, 1989), published when she was eighteen, was made into a CBC movie starring Sandra Oh. Evelyn’s prose books have been translated into a dozen languages; her poetry has received numerous awards. She has been writer-in-residence at UBC, Kwantlen and VCC, as well as Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Calgary. Evelyn was Poet Laureate for the City of Vancouver (2011-2014).
Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, and she now lives with her son in North Burnaby. Her books include The Conjoined, nominated for International Dublin Literary Award and a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, The Shadow List, and Finding Home. Jen acquires and edits for ECW Press and co-hosts the literary podcast, Can’t Lit.
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 new book, Grappling Hook, is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press. She has been widely anthologized in such collections as Best Canadian Poetry 2013, Poet-to-Poet (2013), and the Newborn Anthology (2014). She is the editor of the poetry collection, Desperately Seeking Susans (2013) and the Poetry Editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. Sarah currently works as the Creative Director for Poetry In Voice and teaches in UBC’s optional residency MFA.