Fonds MsC-142 - Daphne Marlatt Fonds

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Daphne Marlatt Fonds

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  • Multi-media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

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  • [ca. 1958]-2014 (Creation)
    Marlatt, Daphne

Physical description area

Physical description

4.5 m of textual records
ca. 1000 photographs
23 optical discs
13 video cassettes
2 digital video discs
5 audio reels
1 audio cassette
83 computer disks
2 zip disks
2 paper fans
1 coaster
1 matchbook
1 art box

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Biographical history

Daphne Marlatt (née Buckle) was born July 11, 1942, in Melbourne, Australia. She spent her early childhood in Penang, Malaysia, and immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, with her family in 1951. She studied creative writing at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she became involved with the group of young poets known as the "TISH group," so named for the poetry newsletter they published and contributed to. In 1963, she married Gordon Alan Marlatt, and in 1964 earned her Bachelor of Arts from UBC. She moved with her husband to Bloomington, Indiana, and received an MA in Comparative Literature from Indiana University in 1968. In 1969, she gave birth to her son Kit, and in 1970 returned to Vancouver and separated from her husband. In 1971, she began teaching at writing and literature at Capilano College, where she also edited poetry for the literary magazine “The Capilano Review.”

Marlatt is the author of many books of poetry, including “Frames of a Story” (1968), “How Hug a Stone” (1983), "Touch to my Tongue" (1984), "Salvage" (1991), "Ghost Works" (1993), "This Tremor Love Is" (2001), “The Given” (2008), and “Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now" (2013). Her poetic style has been described as dense and deconstructionist, and her writing has addressed themes such as motherhood, feminism, lesbianism, and post-colonialism. Her work often defies classification, spanning genre categories such as autobiography, travelogue, essay, historical fiction and journal. She has published the novels “Zócalo” (1977) “Taken” (1996) and “Ana Historic” (1997), the art/poetry books “Winter/Rice/Tea Strain” (2000) and “Between Brush Strokes” (2008), and the chapbook “Seven Glass Bowls” (2003). She has written a Japanese Noh-inspired play “The Gull” (2009), and wrote the script for the short film "The Portside" (2009).

Marlatt has also contributed to several collaborative projects and publications. The book “Steveston” (1974, republished in 2001) features poems by Marlatt and photographs by Robert Minden about the eponymous fishing community (now part of the city of Richmond, British Columbia) and its Japanese-Canadian community. Her book “Opening Doors in Vancouver's East End: Strathcona” (1979, republished in 2011), co-edited with Carole Itter, is a work that documents the history and culture of Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood through oral history interviews with community members. In 1988, she co-authored the poetry book “Double Negative” with her then-partner Betsy Warland. She also composed the libretto for the chamber opera “Shadow Catch” (2011), which explores the cultural history of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Marlatt has frequently worked as a editor of both books and periodicals. In 1977, she co-founded the literary magazine "Periodics" with Paul de Barros. The magazine was an offshoot of TISH, and ran until 1981. In 1984 she co-founded "Tessera," a journal of feminist literary theory and writing, with Barbara Godard, Kathy Mezei, and Gail Scott. She also edited the book “Mothertalk: Life Stories of Mary Kiyoshi Kiyooka" (1997), a posthumous book by Roy Kiyooka, with whom she had a relationship in the 1970s.

Alongside her writing and editing, Marlatt has served as an instructor of creative writing and literature, teaching at Capilano College, the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, the University of Saskatchewan, and Simon Fraser University. In 2007, she was writer-in-residence in the department of English & Cultural Studies at McMaster University, as well as the Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Calgary. She was the 2008 Distinguished Poet in the Ralph Gustafson Poetry Chair at Vancouver Island University, and she led the Poetry Colloquium at the Sage Hill Writing Experience from 2008 to 2010.

Marlatt has received numerous awards of recognition for her work. In 2006 she was appointed to the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian Literature. She won the 2008 Uchimura Naoya Prize for "The Gull," and the 2009 Dorothy Livesay Prize for “The Given.” In 2012 she was the 19th recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, which honours an outstanding literary career in British Columbia. She holds honourary doctorates from the University of Western Ontario and Mount St. Vincent University.

Custodial history

Records in this fonds were maintained in the custody of Daphne Marlatt until the time of acquisition by the Simon Fraser University Library. Accession MsC 142 was acquired in 2014, and accrual MsC 142a in 2016.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records created or accumulated by Daphne Marlatt through her personal and professional activities, predominantly after the year 1990. Records document her activities as a writer of poetry and prose, an editor, and as a teacher of writing and literature, and include manuscripts, notes, research records, correspondence, photographs, grant applications, reviews, and audio and video recordings of poetry readings.

The fonds has been arranged into the following eleven series: Background research records ([ca. 1965-2000]), Fiction - poetry records (1958-2014), Fiction - drama records (2000-2011), Non-fiction works records (1975-2008), Awards and grants records ([ca. 1965-2012]), Correspondence with publishers ([ca. 1977-2013]), Professional activities records (1983-2013), Teaching records (1973-2010), Electronic records and other media (1974-2012), Personal records (1966-2014), and Personal and professional correspondence (1961-2014).

Notes area

Physical condition

Many files in the fonds contains pages of facsimile paper, some of which is fading. This paper has been scanned for preservation purposes. Consult the Archivist for more information.

Immediate source of acquisition


Series were largely based on Marlatt's divisions of records within and between boxes. Where there were many files and there did not appear to be an original order, the Archivist ordered them chronologically or reverse chronologically.

For files containing newspaper clippings, clippings have been replaced with photocopies and the originals placed in envelopes at the back of folders.

For preservation reasons, photographs in files of textual records have been removed and are located in separate boxes. See file list for locations of photographs.

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Availability of other formats

Digitized audio materials are available for research in SFU Digitized Collections:

Restrictions on access

Access restrictions are listed at the sub-series or file level. Materials in the first accrual (MsC-142) were restricted by the archivist and can be accessed under a research agreement. Materials in subsequent accruals (MsC-142a) are restricted until 2035 by request of the donor. Please see SCRB staff for assistance.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Works in this fonds, e.g. poetry, music, essays, and other written material, are under copyright. Researchers are required to secure permission from the copyright holder(s) for uses of this material other than those covered by fair dealing.

Finding aids

Series descriptions and file list available.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

Some of Daphne Marlatt's records reside with Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, LMS-0119.

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Further accruals are expected.

General note

Square brackets have been used at the file level to indicate supplied titles. File names follow the creator's original file names with occasional dates and material forms added in square brackets by the Archivist.

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Created August 2015, LR.
Revised April 2016, NT: Added accrual MsC 142a.

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