I’m quite interested in thinking about that notion of the hyphen. That little thing that’s in-between. Let’s say, “Chinese-Canadian”…

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-08-20 01:27Z by Steven

“I’m quite interested in thinking about that notion of the hyphen. That little thing that’s in-between. Let’s say, “Chinese-Canadian,” or “Japanese-Canadian.” I like to challenge those two poles, those two hegemonous poles who want to claim a part of me. Because I feel like I’ve lived in-between and I like the in-between.  It’s a place that I would like to spruce-up a bit. I like to, you know, put some nice furniture in the in-between place.” —Fred Wah

Anne Marie Nakagaw, “Between: Living in the Hyphen,” National Film Board of Canada, (2005): 00:0:28-00:01:02.

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Between: Living in the Hyphen

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Videos on 2013-04-05 00:35Z by Steven

Between: Living in the Hyphen

National Film Board of Canada

Anne Marie Nakagaw

Anne Marie Nakagawa’s documentary examines what it means to have a background of mixed ancestries that cannot be easily categorized. By focusing on 7 Canadians who have one parent from a European background and one of a visible minority, she attempts to get at the root of what it means to be multi-ethnic in a world that wants each person to fit into a single category. Finding a satisfactory frame of reference in our ‘multicultural utopia’ turns out to be more complex than one might think. Between: Living in the Hyphen offers a provocative glimpse of what the future holds: a departure from hyphenated names towards a celebration of fluidity and being mixed.

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Appointment of a new Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive on 2012-11-29 03:50Z by Steven

Appointment of a new Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Parliament of Canada

December 20, 2011 (Ottawa) – The Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Andrew Scheer, today announced the appointment of Fred Wah as Canada’s next Parliamentary Poet Laureate [2011-2013], effective immediately. Mr. Wah is the fifth poet to hold this office.

“As a distinguished poet, editor, and teacher Fred Wah is known across Canada for his interest in a range of subjects,” said Speaker Kinsella. “Mr. Wah brings forth a collaborative approach and unique perspective to his work inspiring younger poets, students and others both nationally and internationally with his reflections on Canadian culture.”

“Fred Wah’s poetry is grounded in Canada’s political and social landscapes,” said Speaker Scheer. “He has done much to encourage and promote the importance of literature, culture and language within Canadian society.”

Mr. Wah was selected by the Speakers upon the recommendation of the Selection Committee composed of Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages; Daniel J. Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada; Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, and Sonia L’Heureux, Assistant Parliamentary Librarian.

Reflecting on his nomination, Fred Wah intends to share his enthusiasm for new poets and artists, and will bring to the position the passion and dedication he brings to all his work. “My work as Parliamentary Poet Laureate will continue to engage poetry as it represents our homes and migrations, our questions of history and identity. I’m grateful for the opportunity to sustain poetry’s presence in our national imaginary.”

Mr. Wah has been writing and publishing since 1965. Author of five limited-edition chapbooks and 18 books, his repertoire includes the 1986 Governor General Award-wining poetry book Waiting for Saskatchewan. Fred Wah has consistently challenged and thrilled readers and has had a major influence on multiple generations of writers…

Read the entire press release in HTML or PDF format.

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The False Laws of Narrative: The Poetry of Fred Wah

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Poetry on 2012-11-29 03:35Z by Steven

The False Laws of Narrative: The Poetry of Fred Wah

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
October 2009
102 pages
Paper ISBN13: 978-1-55458-046-0

Fred Wah, Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Edited by:

Louis Cabri, Associate Professor of English
University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

The False Laws of Narrative is a selection of Fred Wah’s poems covering the poets entire poetic trajectory to date. A founding editor of Tish magazine, Wah was influenced by leading progressive and innovative poets of the 1960s and was at the forefront of the exploration of racial hybridity, multiculturalism, and transnational family roots in poetry. The selection emphasizes his innovative poetic range.
Wah is renowned as one of Canada’s finest and most complex lyric poets and has been lauded for the musicality of his verse. Louis Cabri’s introduction offers a paradigm for thinking about how sound is actually structured in Wah’s improvisatory poetry and offers fresh insights into Wah’s context and writing. In an afterword by the poet himself, Wah presents a dialogue between editor and poet on the key themes of the selected poems and reveals his abiding concerns as poet and thinker.

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ENGL 3270.03: Contemporary Canadian Literature: Crossing the Line

Posted in Canada, Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2012-02-26 02:10Z by Steven

ENGL 3270.03: Contemporary Canadian Literature: Crossing the Line

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Summer 2007

Dr. C. Dawson

Our study of contemporary Canadian literature will be loosely divided into three sections, each organized around the idea of “crossing the line.” In the first section the line under consideration will be the border that defines this country. By way of example, our discussion of Tom King’s wonderfully funny story “Borders” might draw on his argument that the 49th parallel is a “figment of somebody else’s imagination.” Likewise, our readings of Fred Wah’s Diamond Grill and Wade Compton’s 49th Parallel Psalm might involve a consideration of the ways they each use the metaphor of border crossing to understand their mixed-race identities.

In the second part of the course we will study a number of stories and poems about characters who are seen to have “crossed a line” in the sense that they have acted in a way that is widely perceived to be transgressive or taboo. Here, for example, we might compare the representation of sexuality in texts as different as Miriam Toews’s A Complicated Kindness, a rock-infused Mennonite coming-of-age story, and Timothy Findley’s Not Wanted on the Voyage, a post-apocalyptic allegory set on Noah’s Ark.

In the final section, the line that is “crossed” has to do with genre. While building on our earlier discussions of race, nationality, and sexuality in contemporary Canadian literature, we will focus on works by Dionne Brand and Anne Carson, both of whom ostentatiously mix genres—poetry, fiction, autobiography, travelogue, opera!—with great effect.

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Multicultural ‘obsession’ drives new Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2011-12-28 22:38Z by Steven

Multicultural ‘obsession’ drives new Parliamentary Poet Laureate

The Globe and Mail
Toronto, Canada

Jane Taber, Senior Political Writer

Fred Wah is a little more familiar with the outside of Parliament than the inside, having from time to time protested on its sweeping lawn as part of the Writers’ Union of Canada.

But that’s about to change. Tuesday, the award-winning scribe was appointed the country’s new Parliamentary Poet Laureate. As such, the 72-year-old Saskatchewan-born Vancouverite is not required to be reciting poetry on the floor of the Commons or the Senate, but is hoping to at some point unleash his pen on the country’s political institutions…

…Although he sees his appointment as “a symbolic gesture,” he’s got some ideas about what he wants to do, including the “possibility of developing some educational aspects” into the post. “I think there is a great need to get some our poetry and some of our Canadian literature into our schools,” he said.

Characterizing himself as a “Heinz 57,” Mr. Wah’s father was half-Chinese, his mother Swedish and he grew up “in my father’s Chinese-Canadian restaurant.” That has helped to fuel his “obsession” to the issue of race and multiculturalism. “And I’m very interested in the whole notion of hybridity and how we negotiate that in our culture,” he added.

He points to his book of short prose fiction, Diamond Grill, as a example of that. In it, he looks at family and identity. He is also proud of his 1985 book of poetry, Waiting for Saskatchewan, for which he won the Governor-General’s Literary Award…

Read the entire article here.

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Faking It: Poetics & Hybridity: Critical Writing 1984-1999

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Poetry on 2011-11-25 03:58Z by Steven

Faking It: Poetics & Hybridity: Critical Writing 1984-1999

NeWest Press
Spring 2000
288 pages
paperback ISBN 13: 978-1-896300-07-8

Fred Wah

According to Fred Wah, the act of thinking critically is one of exploration and discovery. In Faking It, Wah demonstrates how writing poetry is writing critically. This scrapbook of Wah’s work—collected from fifteen years of his writing—contains essays, reviews, journals, notes and, most importantly, poetic improvisations on contemporary poetry and identity. Faking It was written between 1984 and 1999—during major shifts in critical thinking and cultural production—and the hybrid style of the book is an apt reflection of these changing times, as well as a reflection and study of Wah’s own hybrid identity.

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Diamond Grill (10th Anniversary Edition)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels on 2011-11-25 03:48Z by Steven

Diamond Grill (10th Anniversary Edition)

NeWest Press
Fall 2006
208 pages
paperback ISBN 13: 978-1-897126-11-0

Fred Wah

This story of family and identity, migration and integration, culture and self-discovery is told through family history, memory, and the occasional recipe.

Diamond Grill is a rich banquet where Salisbury steak shares a menu with chicken fried rice, and bird’s nest soup sets the stage for Christmas plum pudding; where racism simmers behind the shiny clean surface of the action in the cafe.

An exciting new edition of Fred Wah’s best-selling bio-fiction, on the 10th anniversary of its original publication, with an all new afterword by the author and the same pagination as the original publication.

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