Permissions: TISH Poetics 1963 Thereafter -

By Fred Wah

Permissions: TISH Poetics 1963 Thereafter -
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The year 2013 being the fiftieth anniversary of the Vancouver Poetry Conference at UBC, Wah uses the occasion to outline how a group of young poets at UBC (and this included George Bowering, Jamie Read, and himself among others) were discovering, through their publication of ... Read more


Overview

The year 2013 being the fiftieth anniversary of the Vancouver Poetry Conference at UBC, Wah uses the occasion to outline how a group of young poets at UBC (and this included George Bowering, Jamie Read, and himself among others) were discovering, through their publication of poetry in the newsletter TISH, that it was possible to write in new forms. The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference brought home to them that they had "permission" to shatter the poem's strict line patterns. Wah notes that there was never a TISH manifesto but that the conference confirmed the group's sense that the 1960s would bring into being a new kind of poetry, that he now had permission to "disturb the words," as in jazz, to play around with the music, to move into a poetry beyond the restrictions and weight of tradition and authority. It was also, according to Wah, to be a turn away from the stubborn persistence of the lyric "I," what Charles Olson in "Projective Verse" called "the private-soul-at-any-public-wall. " In reflecting on the arc of his own publishing career, Wah notes that a new importance was given to place, but place was not seen as static, for poetry now could be used as a "tool" in a larger investigation of "process" in the creation of the individual within time and place. Wah also realized that he continued to want a sense of collectivity, and he went on to create and publish a number of small literary magazines. In his more recent writing there has been a new fusion of identitywith the concept of process along with race, and the resulting concept of hybridity.

Fred Wah

Fred Wah was born in 1939 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, to parents of Swedish and Chinese origin. He studied Music and English at U.B.C. before shifting to Linguistics and Literature at SUNY Buffalo. From 1967-1989, Wah taught at Selkirk College and David Thompson University Centre in Nelson while living in South Slocan, raising a family and writing more than a dozen books of poetry. He taught English and Creative Writing in Calgary until his retirement in 2003. Wah was one of the founders of the groundbreaking TISH poetry magazine, which ran from 1961-1966. He has received major literary awards for his work, including the Governor General's award for Waiting for Saskatchewan. His So Far won Alberta's Stephanson Award, and is a door won the Dorothy Livesay prize for poetry. In 2011, Wah was appointed as Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate, the fifth poet to hold this office. Last year was he was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada for his groundbreaking work as a poetand for his contributions to the life of poetry in Canada. Currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Calgary, he divides his time between Vancouver and a seasonal home near Nelson.

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