Showing 30 results

Person/organization
Simon Fraser University Special Collections and Rare Books Person

Giguere, Perry Joseph

  • Person
  • 1950 Dec 16-2018 Jun 17

Giguere was born in Quebec City on December 16, 1950. After spending his early years in Montreal, he moved to Vancouver in 1973. While studying to be an actor at the Firehall Theatre in 1978, he was approached to put up promotional posters for the theatre and postering soon turned into a full-time, forty year career. Giguere passed away in Vancouver on June 17, 2018. He had two daughters, Emilie and Jessie.

Mills, John

  • Person
  • 1930-

John Mills is a British-born, Vancouver-based novelist. He taught in the English Department at Simon Fraser University from the mid-1960s through 1990s. His major published works include "Runner in the Dark", "land of is", and "Thank You Mother for the Rabbits".

Layton, Irving

  • Person
  • 1912-2006

Irving Layton, OC (March 12, 1912 January 4, 2006) was an award-winning Montreal-based Canadian poet, author of more than forty books. Raymond Jennings is with the Philosophy Department at Simon Fraser University. As an undergraduate student at Queen's University, Jennings studied the work of Irving Layton.

Davey, Frank

  • Person
  • 1940-

Frankland Wilmot Davey (born April 19, 1940) is a Canadian poet and scholar/critic and an important figure in the countrys post-modern literary scene. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he attended the University of British Columbia where he was one of the founding editors of the poetry journal TISH and also edited the journal OPEN LETTER. In 1968, he received a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He then became a professor at York University in Toronto. He currently lives in Strathroy, Ontario. He has published numerous volumes of poetry, as well as monographs on Margaret Atwood and Earle Birney and other non-fiction works.

Blaser, Robin

  • Person
  • 1925-2009

Robin Blaser was born in Colorado on May 18, 1925, and raised in Idaho. He was educated at the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a principal member of the group of poets that became known as the ‘Berkeley Renaissance’, together with Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan. In 1955 he moved to Boston, where he worked as a librarian at Harvard’s Widener Library. He returned to San Francisco in 1959 where he worked at the California Historical Society and San Francisco State University. He moved to Vancouver, BC in 1966 and worked for Simon Fraser University, where he taught in the English Department until his retirement as a Full Professor in 1986. He became a Canadian citizen in 1972. Blaser has influenced and mentored many writers, including Stan Persky, Brian Fawcett, Sharon Thesen, George Bowering, and Phyllis Webb, among others. He has published numerous works of poetry, many of them sections of a single long serial-poem collected in The Holy Forest (1993). He was also an essayist, librettist, and editor, most notably of The Collected Books of Jack Spicer (1975). In 1995 his achievement was celebrated with a major conference, The Recovery of the Public World, held in Vancouver and attended by many notable Canadian and American poets. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2005. In 2006 he received a special Lifetime Recognition Award from the trustees of the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. He also won the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry in 2008 for his revised and expanded edition of The Holy Forest (2008). In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Simon Fraser University. Blaser wrote and resided in Vancouver, BC until his death in 2009.

Persky, Stan

  • Person
  • 1941-

Stan Persky (born 19 January 1941) is a Canadian writer, media commentator and philosophy instructor. Persky was born in Chicago, Illinois. As a teenager, he made contact with and received encouragement from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other writers of the Beat Generation. Persky served in the United States Navy, and then settled in San Francisco, California in the early 1960s, becoming part of a group of writers that included Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser and George Stanley. In 1966, Persky moved to Vancouver, Canada, and attended the University of British Columbia, receiving degrees in anthropology and sociology. He became a Canadian citizen in 1972. During the 1960s and '70s, he was prominent as a student and civic activist, was an early staff member of the alternative newspaper The Georgia Straight, and co-founder with Dennis Wheeler of the "Georgia Straight Writing Supplement," which eventually became New Star Books. After university, Persky worked at Vancouver Mental Patients Association and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before becoming a college instructor. Since 1983, he has worked primarily at Capilano University in North Vancouver, first in political studies and then in philosophy. Since 1990, Persky has resided part-time in Vancouver and in Berlin, Germany. He worked as a media commentator for the CBC, a literary columnist for The Globe and Mail and The Vancouver Sun, and has written for The Body Politic, This Magazine, New Directions, Saturday Night, Sodomite Invasion Review, Books in Canada and most recently The Tyee. He is also a frequent contributor to Dooney's Cafe. Stan Persky is a long-time Vancouver public intellectual and literary activist.

Spicer, Jack

  • Person
  • 1925-1965

Jack Spicer (January 30, 1925 - August 17, 1965) was an American poet often identified with the San Francisco [Poetry] Renaissance. Spicer was born in Rhode Island and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 10 where he later attended the University of Redlands. He spent most of his writing life in San Francisco and spent the years 1945 to 1955 at the University of California, Berkeley, where he began writing, doing work as a research linguist, and publishing some poetry (though he disdained publishing). During this time he searched out fellow poets, but it was through his alliance with Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser and Landis Everson that Spicer forged a new kind of poetry, and together they referred to their common work as the Berkeley Renaissance. The four, who were all gay, also educated younger poets in their circle about their "queer genealogy", Rimbaud, Lorca, and other gay writers. In 1954, Spicer co-founded the Six Gallery, the scene of the famous October 1955 reading that launched the West Coast Beat movement. In 1955, Spicer moved to New York and then to Boston, where he worked for a time in the Rare Book Room of Boston Public Library. He returned to San Francisco in 1956 and in 1957, Spicer ran a workshop called Poetry as Magic at San Francisco State College, which was attended by Duncan, Helen Adam, Joe Dunn, Jack Gilbert, and George Stanley. Spicer's view of the role of language in the process of writing poetry was probably the result of his knowledge of modern pre-Chomskian linguistics and his experience as a research linguist at Berkeley. In his legendary Vancouver lectures he elucidated his ideas on "transmissions" (dictations) from the outside, using the comparison of the poet as crystal set or radio receiving transmissions from outer space, or Martian transmissions. Although seemingly far-fetched, his view of language as "furniture", through which the transmissions negotiate their way, is grounded in the structuralist linguistics of Zellig Harris and Charles Hockett. (In fact, the poems of his final book, Language, refer to linguistic concepts such as morphemes and graphemes.) As such, Spicer is acknowledged as a precursor and early inspiration for the Language poets. However, many working poets today list Spicer in their succession of precedent figures. Spicer died as a result of his alcoholism and his reputed last words to Robin Blaser were "My vocabulary did this to me. Your love will let you go on." Since the posthumous publication of The Collected Books of Jack Spicer (first published in 1975), his popularity and influence has steadily risen, affecting poetry throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. A collected works entitled My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian, editors) was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2008.

Wah, Fred

  • Person
  • 1939-

Fred Wah (born January 23, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, and scholar involved in the post-modern literary scene in Canada, both as teacher and writer. He was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, but raised in the interior of British Columbia. His father was a Canadian-born but raised in China, who was born to a Chinese father and an English mother, while his mother a Swedish-born Canadian who came to Canada at age 6. His diverse ethnic makeup figures significantly in his writings. In 1962, Wah married Pauline Butling, a teacher, writer, and literary critic. Wah studied Music and English at the University of British Columbia (BA 1963), did some graduate work in English Literature at the University of New Mexico from 1963-1964, and completed an MA in English at the State University of New York Buffalo in 1967.

Wah is primarily known as a poet and has published numerous books of poetry, including “Lardeau” (1965), “Breathin' My Name with a Sigh” (1981); “Waiting for Saskatchewan” (1985), winner of the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, “Music at the Heart of Thinking” (1987); “Alley Alley Homefree” (1992); and “is a door” (2009), winner of the Dorothy Livesay Prize for Poetry. He is the author of the bio-fiction “Diamond Grill” (1996), winner of the Howard O'Hagan prize for short fiction. He has also written many works of nonfiction. His collection of critical essays “Faking it: Poetics and Hybridity” (2000), winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Criticism, represents fifteen years of his writings in various forms.

Wah has worked as an instructor of English composition and literature at various academic institutions. From 1967-1989, he taught writing at Selkirk College in Castlegar, British Columbia, while living in South Slocan. He also taught at David Thompson University Centre in Nelson, British Columbia, until the school’s closing in 1984. When the David Thompson University Centre closed in 1984, Wah was involved in establishing the Kootenay School of Writing in its place, and from 1995-1999, Wah served as an electronic writing advisor for the Kootenay School of Art. In 1989, he was appointed professor of English at the University of Calgary, a position he held until 2003, when he retired and became professor emeritus. He taught courses in English composition and literature. In 1995, Wah taught a graduate seminar on bpNichol’s “The Martyrology” at the University of Calgary in conjunction with Roy Miki, who taught a section of the same seminar at Simon Fraser University.

Wah has also worked extensively as an editor, both for literary periodicals, and as editor for the poetry manuscripts of friends, colleagues, and peers. While at the University of British Columbia, he was a founding editor and contributor to the poetry newsletter “TISH,” and served as Associate Editor from 1961 to 1963. Well known for his work on literary journals and small-press, Wah has been a contributing editor to the journal “Open Letter” since its beginning in 1970, involved in the editing of “West Coast Line,” and, along with Frank Davey, he co-edited the world's first online literary magazine, SwiftCurrent in 1986. From 1992-1993, he was part of the editorial collective of “Appropriate Voice,” the newsletter for the Racial Minorities Committee of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and also worked to organize a conference of the same name held in May 1992 in Orilla, Ontario. From 2003 to 2008 Wah served as poetry editor for “The Literary Review of Canada.”

Wah has been a member of various committees, both academic and non-academic. At the University of Calgary, he served on the Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Authors Programme Steering Committee 1993-1994, 1996-1997, and 2000-2001. A long-time member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, Wah served on the National Council Executive from 1996-1997, on the National Executive from 2000-2001, and was Chair of the Union from 2001-2002. From 1990-1994, he served on the Racial Minorities Committee of the union.

Wah served as the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2012-2013, and in 2013 was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Kiyooka, Roy

  • Person
  • 1926-1994

Roy Kenzie Kiyooka (January 18, 1926 January 8, 1994) was an influential Canadian photographer, poet and artist of national and international acclaim. A Nisei or second generation Japanese Canadian, Kiyooka was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and raised in Calgary, Alberta. In 1942, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he and his family were uprooted and interned. Kiyooka studied at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Art, and first made a name for himself as painter. He taught in Halifax at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and in 1973 he was hired as an instructor of painting at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Fine Arts. During this period, his work turned increasingly away from painting to other forms of visual and performing arts, and to writing. His book, Pear Tree Pomes, was nominated for the 1987 Governor General's Award. In 1978, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Lambert, Betty

  • Person
  • 1933-1983

Elizabeth M. (Betty) Lambert (nee Lee) (1933 1983) was a renowned Canadian playwright. Born in Calgary, Alberta, she began to write at an early age, winning awards in high school and for her writing while studying at the University of British Columbia. In 1956, she received the Brissenden Creative Writing Award and in 1957 the Macmillan Best Short Story Award. Her 1967 children's play "Tumult with Indians" won her the Canadian Centennial Award for best historical children's play. From 1965 to 1983, Lambert taught at in the English Department at Simon Fraser University while continuing to write stage, radio and television plays, short stories and one published novel. Her best-known works were the childrens play The Riddle Machine, the radio play Grasshopper Hill, the comedy vSqrieux-de-Dieu, her novel and the dramas Under the Skin and Jennies Story, which was adapted into the film Heart of the Sun in 1999. Betty Lambert passed away in 1983.

Baird, Laura

  • Person
  • 1955-

Laura N. Baird was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1955. She studied Theatre Craft and Design at the Banff School of Fine Arts, earning a Senior Diploma in 1974. In 1979, she completed a Senior Diploma from the Emily Carr College of Art. From 1978 to 1981, undertook graduate work at Emily Carr and at the School of Arts, Columbia University. She earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1982. Baird is a conceptual artist, working with diverse media, including photography and textiles. She has lived in various parts of Canada and the United States of America, before settling in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Stuart, Colin

  • Person
  • 20 Jan 1949-21 May 2018

Colin Christopher Stuart was a Canadian poet closely associated with the West Coast poetry movement of the 1960s and 1970s and the 'New American Poetry' anthologized by Donald Allen.
A shy and withdrawn child prodigy, Colin was one of the five children of W.M.P. (Manfred) Stuart and Bessie Dolina Stuart (nee Macaulay). He grew up in Vancouver and Burnaby, composing poetry and playing the bagpipes in the Vancouver Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band, with which he competed at the 1962 Edinburgh Festival.

He attended Simon Fraser University at an early age, was present at the 1965 Berkeley Poetry Conference and graduated from SFU with a degree in English literature. He began a graduate degree at SFU, which he did not complete, but was awarded a Canada Council grant for further studies in poetics and for a time did graduate work in Buffalo, N.Y. In 1974 he attended the British School of Classical Studies in Athens.

His early writing was published in numerous Canadian and American poetry magazines of the 1960s and early 1970s, including TISH, Talon, Capilano Review, Pacific Nation, Skree, Iron, Writing (George Straight Writing Supplement), Fathar (Bolinas), and Boundary 2 (Buffalo). His critical and poetic work responded to a number of influences: Black Mountain poetics, Post-structuralist philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, English romanticism, French symbolism, and Islamic religious writings. In addition to Blaser’s mentorship, Stuart’s work was supported by broad community of artists and writers: Laura Baird, John “Jack” Clarke, Pierre Coupey, Susan Knutson, and Duncan McNaughton.
By the mid/late 1970s he seemed poised to establish himself as a leading younger Canadian poet but suffered setbacks in his personal life, including a falling-out with his one-time mentor and SFU graduate supervisor, the poet Robin Blaser. He halted the volume of his poems Talonbooks was preparing for publication in the early 1980s, and in later years became isolated from former friends and colleagues, suffering from mental and physical health issues, addiction, brushes with the law, and homelessness on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Though he continued to write, he avoided any further publication in his lifetime. He died in Vancouver's West End in 2018 at the age of 69, leaving a large archive of his life's work - manuscripts composed over a period of fifty years.

Culley, Peter

  • Person
  • 15 August 1958 - 10 April 2015

Peter Culley was a Canadian poet, art critic, and photographer. He grew up on Royal Canadian Air Force bases in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Scotland and lived in Nanaimo BC since 1972. He authored numerous books of poetry, including Twenty-one (Oolichan Books, 1980) Fruit Dots (Tsunami Editions, 1985), Natural History (Fissure Books, 1986), The Climax Forest (Leech Books, 1995), and his Hammertown trilogy: Hammertown (New Star Books, 2003), The Age of Briggs and Stratton (New Star Books, 2008), and Parkway (New Star Books, 2013). As an art critic, he wrote extensively on Stan Douglas, Roy Arden, Kelly Wood, and Geoffrey Farmer, among other artists. His art criticism was published in numerous books and magazine. He was also the author of To the Dogs (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008), an essay on the relationships between people and dogs, illustrated with photographs. Peter Culley was involved with many writing scenes, including the Kootenay School of Writing in Vancouver, the Nanaimo poetry scene and poetry circles throughout North America.

Karasick, Adeena

  • Person
  • 1965-

Adeena Karasick, Ph.D. is a New York based Canadian poet, media-artist and the award-winning author of several books of poetry and poetic theory, Salome, Woman of Valor (GapRiot Press, 2018), Checking In (Talonbooks, 2018), This Poem (Talonbooks, 2012), Amuse Bouche: Tasty Treats for the Mouth (Talonbooks 2009), The House That Hijack Built (Talonbooks, 2004, The Arugula Fugues (Zasterle Press, 2001), Dyssemia Sleaze (Talonbooks, Spring 2000), Genrecide (Talonbooks, 1996), Prairis/cite Maintenance (Wave7press, 1995) Mêmewars (Talonbooks, 1994), and The Empress Has No Closure (Talonbooks, 1992). Her work also includes parodic videopoems.
Karasick was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba to Russian immigrant parents and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She studied with Warren Tallman at the University of British Columbia and received her BA in English (1988) before moving to Toronto to work, study and perform with poets bill bissett and bpNichol. She received her MA from York University (1991), and a Ph.D in Kabbalah and Deconstruction at Concordia University (1997).
She has taught at a number of American and European Institutions, including Fordham University, St. John’s University, and at the Gutenberg Universität Mainz as “The Mainz Scholar”. She is presently Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute in New York (teaching Poetry Poetics and Performance for the Dept. of Humanities and Media Studies) and is the Poetry Coordinator for Klezkanada Poetry Retreat, International Festival for Language, Music and Culture.
Marked with an urban, Jewish, feminist aesthetic that continually challenges normative modes of meaning production, and engaged with the art of combination and turbulence of thought, her work is a testament to the creative and regenerative power of language and its infinite possibilities for pushing meaning to the limits of its semantic boundaries. Karasick has lectured and performed worldwide and regularly publishes articles, reviews and dialogues on contemporary poetry, poetics and cultural/semiotic theory.

Lissel, Reg

  • Person

Reg Lissel grew up in northern Alberta and was a bookseller in the early 1990s. He owned a bookstore in downtown Vancouver before he commenced his handmade paper business. He is interested in handmade Western and Japanese papermaking arts. His paper mill is his two-storey apartment located at Shanghai Alley in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

Leech, Beverley Blackmore

  • Person
  • 1935–2019

Beverley (Bev) Blackmore Leech was born to Dr. Beverley C. and Elsie Mary (nee Steele) Leech on December 15, 1935. Bev studied book design at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design) and went on to have a long career as a designer, notably with Morriss Printing in Victoria, B.C. Bev Leech died on January 23, 2019.

Robertson, Lisa

  • Person
  • 1961-

Lisa Robertson was born on July 22, 1961 in Toronto, ON. In 1979, she moved to Salt Spring Island, BC, then in 1984 relocated to Vancouver, BC to attend Simon Fraser University (SFU). From 1988 to 1994 she was the proprietor of Proprioception Books, a specialist bookshop. In 1990 she became involved with the Kootenay School of Writing (KSW), an artist-run collective that works to advance avant-garde writing practices.
Robertson is the author of various books of poetry, including XEclogue (1993), Debbie: An Epic (1997), The Weather (2001), The Men: A Lyric Book (2006), Magenta Soul Whip (2009), R’s Boat (2010), Cinema of the Present (2014) 3 Summers (2016), and Boat (2022) and has contributed to various anthologies. Her collection of essays and texts on architecture and urban space, Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture was published in 2003 (2nd ed., 2011). Her first novel, The Baudelaire Fractal, was published in 2020. She has also written many chapbooks, essays, and reviews on poetry, contemporary art, and architecture, as well as columns for various magazines and journals (among them, Mix Magazine and the interior design magazine Nest). She edited the 2006 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology, and worked as a co-editor for the poetry journal Raddle Moon, from 1993-1999. She has occasionally done freelance editorial work on poetry manuscripts for New Star Books (Vancouver) Book*hug (Toronto), Anansi (Toronto) and Coach House Books (Toronto) and has written magazine columns for Artforum and the Paris Review.
Robertson has received wide recognition for her work. She was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1998 for Debbie: An Epic, won the Relit Award for Poetry in 2002 for The Weather, in 2006 received the bpNichol Chapbook Award for Rousseau’s Boat, and in 2018 was awarded the inaugural CD Wright Award in Poetry by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2017 and her novel The Baudelaire Fractal was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 2020.
In 1999, Robertson was granted the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellowship in Poetry by Cambridge University (UK). She was a visiting poet and lecturer at the University of California (San Diego) in 2003, and in 2006, she served as the Roberta C. Holloway lecturer in the Practice of Poetry at the University of California (Berkeley). From 2007-2009, she was a visiting artist-in-residence at the California College of the Arts (San Francisco). She has taught at Capilano University (North Vancouver, BC), the American University of Paris (France), Dartington College of the Arts (UK), Piet Zwart Institute (Netherlands), Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University (Boulder, CO), Princeton University (Princeton, NJ), and at the Banff Centre Writing Studio (Banff, Alberta). Robertson also serves on the advisory boards of Artspeak Gallery (Vancouver, BC) and as an advising editor for the Capilano Review.
She has lived in France since the early 2000s, and began translating from French to English. She has worked on translating the linguist and philosopher Henri Meschonnic, the poet Eric Suchere, the novelist Michele Bernstein, the linguist Emile Benveniste and the philosopher Simone Weil. Her current work is a creative study on the “wide rime” of the poetics of the troubadour poets. This work includes translation from the medieval Occitan, lectures on poetics and vocal performances.

Mootoo, Shani

  • Person
  • 1957-

Shani Mootoo is known for her work as an artist and writer. She was born in Ireland in 1957, grew up in Trinidad, and has lived in Canada since the early 1980s. Mootoo studied fine arts at the University of Western Ontario (1976-1980) where she earned a BFA in Visual Art and began to paint and produce video works. She earned a master of fine arts equivalent at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver in 1982. Mootoo's collection of short stories Out on Main Street was published in 1993. This was followed in 1996 by her first novel, Cereus Blooms at Night, which was published in fourteen countries and was a finalist for the Giller Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award. In 2001, Mootoo published a collection of poetry, The Predicament of Or. Her second novel, He Drown She in the Sea, was published in May 2005 and long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her subsequent books include: Valmiki's Daughter (2008), Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab (2014), and Polar Vortex (2020). Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab and Polar Vortex were both shortlisted for the Giller Prize. 2022 saw the publication of her memoir-based poetry collection titled Cane|Fire. Mootoo has been a writer in residence at the University of Alberta, at Mills College in Oakland, California, and at the Varuna Writers Residency program in Australia. She has taught writing at the University of Alberta, Capilano College in North Vancouver, the BC Festival of the Arts, and the BC Arts Council. Her visual art and video productions have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Queens Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Venice Biennale. In 2021, she received an honorary doctorate from Western University. In 2022, the Writers' Trust of Canada awarded Mootoo the Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work.

Nichol, bp (Barrie Phillip)

  • Person
  • 1944-1988

Barrie Philip Nichol (September 30, 1944 September 25, 1988), who often went by his lower-case initials and last name, with no spaces (bp Nichol), was a prolific Canadian poet and also a language artist, editor and publisher. He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and became widely known for his concrete poetry while living there in the 1960s. He received his elementary teaching certificate from the University of British Columbia in 1963, but he only worked briefly as a teacher before dedicating himself to writing. His best-known published work is probably The Martyrology, a long poem encompassing 9 books in 6 volumes. Nichol also worked in a wide variety of other genres, including musical theatre, children's books, collage/assemblage, pamphlets, spoken word, computer texts, fiction, and television. In 1970, he began to collaborate with fellow poets Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, and Steve McCaffery, forming the sound-poetry group The Four Horsemen. He was also active with Coach House Press and Open Letter, with his own presses, grOnk and Ganglia, and in the therapeutic community, Therafields, for a number of years. Nicol was married in 1980 to Eleanor Hiebert.

Johnston, Harold H.

  • Person
  • 15 September 1930 - 15 January 1985

Harold Henry (Hal) Johnston was born in Ardreagh, Northern Ireland, apprenticed as plasterer, and emigrated to Canada in 1951. Settling in Edmonton in 1952, he married Frances Henriette Coulombe (29 July 1932-14 Mar 2018) in June 1955. He worked in Edmonton as a plasterer until late 1957, when they moved to Burnaby, British Columbia. They purchased, renovated and occupied 4447 Venables St.
Johnston continued to work as a plasterer, serving in 1969 as business agent for the Plasterers’ and Stonemasons’ Union, and then self-employed as A&H Plastering and Stucco from 1970 until his death from cancer.
Harold Johnston was a serious photographer and camera collector, recording some 600 rolls of black and white and slide film in 35mm and other formats on a variety of cameras from the early 1950s until 1984, mainly of locations in the Lower Mainland and Pacific Northwest.
From 1960 he processed and printed the negatives himself in a home darkroom. From 1970 Johnston recorded several artists, illustrators and sculptors working in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, notably Wil Hudson (fine printer and typographer), Keith Shields (sculptor), Frits Jacobsen (illustrator), Charles Butler (wood sculptor) and Bill Shoebotham (artist). He maintained contact with, and often photographed, them until his death. For Wil, he recorded the sequence of operations involved in book production; photographically reproduced line drawings for a book project for the Alcuin Society; recorded candid views of Wil’s shops, and social occasions; and, processed and printed Wil’s film exposed during his time working at Cape Dorset, Baffin Island.

Wachtel, Eleanor

  • Person
  • 1947-

Eleanor Wachtel, CM is a Canadian writer and broadcaster. For over thirty years she hosted the weekly literary show Writers and Company on CBC Radio One. She was born and raised in Montreal, where she took a B.A. in English literature at McGill University. Wachtel lived for a time in the United States and Kenya, and then in the mid-'70s worked as a freelance writer and broadcaster in Vancouver. She has co-edited two books: The Expo Story (1986), and Language in Her Eye (1990), and is the co-author of A Feminist Guide to the Canadian Constitution (1992). In 1993, Knopf Canada published a selection of interviews called Writers and Company; More Writers and Company was published in the fall of 1996. In spring 2003, HarperCollins brought out another selection, Original Minds. Wachtel is a contributor to the best-seller, Dropped Threads (2001), co-edited by Carol Shields, and Lost Classics (2000), co-edited by Michael Ondaatje et al. In 2007, she published Random Illuminations: Conversations With Carol Shields. For five years she was Adjunct Professor of Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University. In the fall of 1987, Wachtel moved to Toronto to work full-time as Literary Commentator on CBC Stereo's State of the Arts, and then as writer-broadcaster for The Arts Tonight, and Toronto reporter for The Arts Report. She was host of The Arts Tonight from 1996 to 2007, and has been host of CBC Radio's Writers & Company since its inception in 1990. In 1995 and again in 2003, Writers & Company won the CBC Award for Programming Excellence for the best weekly show broadcast nationally In 2002, Eleanor Wachtel was named winner of the Jack Award for the promotion of Canadian books. Wachtel has received six honorary degrees. In 2005, Wachtel was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Tarasoff, Koozma J.

  • Person
  • 1932-

Koozma J. Tarasoff was born in Saskatoon. He is a writer and scholar creating works related to Doukhobor history and culture.

Sidhoo, Ajaib

  • Person
  • 08 Jan 1923 - 22 Feb 2016

Ajaib (Jab) Sidhoo was born on January 8, 1923 in the Punjab, India, when it was still ruled by Britain. Due to his father’s protestation against high British taxes on farmland in India, Jab’s father relocated to Vancouver Island in 1927, where he worked in the Kapoor sawmill. Jab was sent to join him in 1929, accompanied not by family but by another couple from his village.
After a number of years residing amongst the Island’s lumber mills, the Sidhoo family moved to Kitsilano in the late 1930s and Jab attended Kitsilano High School in 1939, where he played on the school rugby team. In 1941, he transferred to Vancouver Technical High School to learn a trade. In 1943 he was one of three students from his class recruited by the Canadian Air Force, becoming one of the first South-Asian Canadians to serve in World War II. He was trained in aircraft maintenance and worked as a fleet mechanic at bases in Caron, Saskatchewan and in the Yukon.
After the war Jab founded East India Traders in Vancouver as a wholesaler for imported carpets and goods. He spent time in India training in the profession, and it was there that he met his future wife Nirmal Dutt (also known as Munni [ca. 1933]). They married in India in 1950 then returned to Vancouver, eventually having two children, Asha and Ravi. Jab’s business also expanded as his client base grew to include hotel chains, banks and other successful professionals. He renamed his business East India Carpets and opened a retail location at 1606 West 2nd Avenue in 1962, where it remains a fixture in the community.
An avid sports fan, Jab was one of the original 100 investors of the BC Lions in 1953 and became a lifelong season ticket holder. He also amassed a considerable collection of football-themed newspapers and magazines, as well as souvenir programs from games in the 1950s and 1960s.
Together, Jab and Munni were active in their community and involved in philanthropic ventures, such as the Ajaib (Jab) and Nirmal (Munni) Sidhoo Charities Fund which sponsors medical scholarships and schools. Munni died on November 14, 2001. Jab passed away on February 22, 2016 at the age of 93. His archive, recently donated to Special Collections and Rare Books by his family, consists of photographs, documents, sports memorabilia, ephemera and objects detailing all aspects of his life as a first generation Canadian, and the communities in which he lived and worked.

Popoff, Eli A.

  • Person
  • 1921-2014

Eli A. Popoff (1921-2014) was born on a farm near the town of Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan and as an adult he moved to Grand Forks in the interior of British Columbia. He was a farmer, carpenter, bookkeeper, writer, community worker, Doukhobor historian, educator, translator, editor of Iskra newsletter, member of the USCC and a family man. Popoff’s contribution includes working as an administrator of the USCC, as a secretary of John J. Verigin and as a primary correspondent of the USCC with individuals or organizations dealing with the Doukhobors from 1970s to 2010s. In 1957, Popoff was a first Doukhobor to hold public office in BC as School Board Trustee in Grand Forks. In 1968, Popoff became a secretary of the Association of Canadians of Russian Descent and helped organized 70th Anniversary of Doukhobors in Canada. Besides being editor of Iskra for two years, Popoff published numerous works on the Doukhobor beliefs and translated various Doukhobor writings, including psalms, hymns, songs, letters and speeches from Russian to English. In relation to Doukhobor songs translation, Popoff collaborated with Kenneth Peacock of the National Museum of Man in Ottawa in order to preserve musical tradition of the Doukhobors. In addition, from 1970s to 1980s Popoff was involved with Selkirk College, BC and gave series of lectures and facilitated discussions on the Doukhobor philosophy and history. Moreover, Popoff edited and translated the proceeding of the Joint Doukhobor Research Committee Symposiums Meetings, 1974-1982 that were published by Selkirk College in 1997. In 1992, he complied and published a collection called Stories From Doukhobor History containing translated articles about the Doukhobors meant to be used as teaching curriculum for children at the Sunday school meetings of the USCC. In 1999, during the Conference on the Doukhobor Centenary at the University of Ottawa, Popoff was awarded with the Institute of Canadian Studies Award for Outstanding Achievement in Canadian Studies.

Neil, Al

  • Person
  • 1924-2017

Al Neil was born in Vancouver, BC in 1924. In 1941, he worked as a surveyor with the Department of Transport, helping to build the wartime airfield at Port Hardy, Vancouver Island. He served in Normandy during the Second World War. After the war Neil worked at a variety of jobs, including clothing salesman, postal clerk, roof tarrer, lighthouse keeper and jazz musician. Neil passed away in Vancouver on November 16, 2017

Al Neil co-founded Vancouver's Cellar Jazz Club in 1952 and performed with artists such as Art Pepper, Conte Candoli and Kenneth Patchen. He married Marguerite Sanders circa 1964; they separated in the early 1970s. During the 1960s and 1970s Neil became known for solo and ensemble performances which combined music with texts, art assemblages, slides and prepared tapes. He performed regularly at the Western Front in the early 1980s, and his collage works were exhibited in galleries such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, Coburg Gallery, and Atelier Gallery.

Neil lives in Vancouver, BC, with his partner and collaborator, Carole Itter. Their Dollarton beach cabin was the last remaining of a number of beach shacks in North Vancouver, and was removed from the waterfront in 2015. As of 2016, a collaboration of grunt gallery, Creative Cultural Collaborations (C3) and Other Sights is working to remediate and repurpose the cabin as a studio for a floating artist residency program.

Neil’s published writings include “West Coast Lokas” (Intermedia 1972), “Changes” (Coach House Press 1975; reprinted by Nightwood Editions in 1989), and “Slammer” (Pulp Press 1981). In 2003, Neil was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Emily Carr University of Art & Design. His work was the subject of a retrospective entitled The Al Neil Project, in 2005, organized in part by grunt gallery. Al Neil’s artwork was featured on the poster for the 2008 Vancouver International Jazz Festival, which included a concert called Homage Collage: Improv for Al Neil. In 2014, Neil received the Vancouver Mayor's Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Twigg, Alan

  • Person
  • 1952-

Alan Twigg was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia in 1952. Since 1987, he has owned and published the newspaper, B.C. BookWorld, Canada’s largest circulation publication about books. In 1985, Twigg co-founded the B.C. Book Prizes, and he was its executive director and
chief fundraiser in the 1990s. He also created the Van City Women’s Book Prize, and coordinated it between 1992 and 2005. Twigg was a representative of the Writers Union of Canada, on the original Board of Directors for the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. He also served on the boards of the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Committee and the Vancouver Cultural Alliance. He is a founder of British Columbia’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia, which he has also coordinated since 1995. In 1994, he organized events aiming to honor George Woodcock, who was British Columbia’s most prolific man of letters.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Alan Twigg worked as a freelance writer. From 1995 to 1998, he wrote a weekly editorial column for The Province newspaper. He has written for The Quill & Quire, BC Historical News, as a theatre critic for The Georgia Straight, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Maclean’s, Vancouver Sun, Step and Pacific Northwest Review of Books. Alan Twigg appears frequently as a guest on CBC Radio, and he has been the host of a CBC television series about B.C. authors.

bissett, bill

  • Person
  • 1939-

bill bissett (born William Frederick Bissett, November 23, 1939) is a Canadian poet known for his anti-conventional style. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, bissett (who deliberately does not capitalize his name) attended Dalhousie University (1956) and the University of British Columbia (1963-1965) but dropped out of both universities because of his desire to live as a free agent, writer and painter unencumbered by academic constraints. He did complete course requirements for his two majors in English and Philosophy. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1958. In 1963 he started the blew ointment magazine and later launched blewointment press, which has published volumes by Cathy Ford, Maxine Gadd, Michael Coutts, Hart Broudy, Rosemary Hollingshead, Beth Jankola, Carolyn Zonailo, bpNichol, Ken West, Lionel Kearns and D. A. Levy. bissett is based in Vancouver and Toronto, Ontario, alternating between the two cities. He is known for his use of a unique orthography and incorporating visual elements in his printed poetry, and his performance of "concrete sound" poetry, sound effects, chanting, and barefoot dancing during his poetry readings. He has also had large exhibits of his paintings and made audio recordings. He was the lyricist and vocalist in the Ontario band, Luddites. His work typically ranges from the mystical to the mundane, incorporating humour, a sense of wonder and sentimentality, and political commentary.

Emerson Wortis, Ruth

  • Person
  • 16 Mar. 1938 - 13 Sep. 2015

Ruth Emerson (Wortis) was a dancer, choreographer, dance educator, and a pioneer of postmodern dance. She was born in Palo Alto, California on March 16, 1938.
Ruth had her first exposure to dance under the inspiring mentorship of Mim Rosen at University High School in Urbana, Illinois. She was an undergraduate at Radcliffe College, where she spent all her spare time dancing and studied summers at the American Dance Festival in New London, Conneticut with Louis Horst and José Limon. She graduated from Radcliffe in 1958 with a BA in Mathematics. After college, she supported herself by writing school math texts while taking dance classes at the Martha Graham School, the Merce Cunningham Studio, and the Robert Joffrey School of Ballet in New York and performing with the Dancemakers in Boston. In New York she danced with the Pearl Lang Company. She was a founding member in 1962 of the Judson Dance Theatre, pioneers of the formal, minimalist movement style now known as Postmodern Dance.
In 1964, she married theoretical physicist, Michael Wortis, moving first to Berkeley, California, where she danced with Ann Halprin and then to Paris, France, where she performed and choreographed at the Theatre d’Essai de la Dance. From 1968 to 1973, she held a part-time faculty position in the Dance Department at the University of Illinois. She completed an MA in Dance at the University in 1973 under Margaret Erlanger and Jan Stockman Simonds. She founded a dance company, Somedancers, Inc., which performed in Champaign/Urbana from 1974 to 1978. From 1981 to 1987, she taught dance and choreographed musicals at University High School; during this time, she also held a residency at the Radcliffe Institute from 1986-1987.
In the fall of 1987, Ruth, Michael and their two daughters moved to Vancouver, B.C.. She helped to develop the first Provincial Dance Curriculum for B.C. schools under the Provincial Ministry of Education. As a Sessional Instructor at the Centre for the Arts and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Education at Simon Fraser University, she developed and taught a program for student teachers. She also continued to perform and to choreograph locally, offering dance courses at local community centres. She served nationally on the grant selection committee of the Canada Council, Dance Section.
Ruth passed away on September 13, 2015.

Haley, Heather

  • Person

An editor and reviewer for the LA Weekly and publisher of the Edgewise Café, one of Canada’s first electronic literary magazines, Heather Haley’s writing has appeared in numerous print journals and anthologies. In addition to publishing Rattler, a critically acclaimed multimedia arts and literary journal, she is the author of the poetry collections Sideways (Anvil Press), Three Blocks West of Wonderland (Ekstasis Editions), and Skookum Raven (Ekstasis Editions) and the novel The Town Slut’s Daughter, set in Vancouver British Columbia's early underground punk rock scene. Haley has directed numerous videopoems (Dying for the Pleasure, Purple Lipstick and Bushwhack) and official selections at dozens of international film festivals. She also has released collections of spoken word song, Princess Nut, and Surfing Season, under the name AURAL Heather.

Haley was a member of one of Vancouver’s first all-female punk rock bands, the Zellots in the late 1970’s. Following their dissolution, she formed the ‘45s with Randy Rampage of DOA, Brad Kent of the Avengers, and Karla Duplantier of the Controllers and relocated to San Francisco. Later, she formed HHZ—Heather Haley & the Zellots—praised by music critic Craig Lee as one of "Ten Great LA Bands". She has played the Smilin' Buddha Cabaret, Mabuhay Gardens, and Geary Street Theatre (People's Temple) in San Francisco, the Hong Kong Cafe, the Palomino Club, Blackies, Club 88, Club Lingerie and the John Anson Ford Theatre in Los Angeles. Haley currently performs in the indie folk duo, The Pluviophiles, with Keir Nicoll.