Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Southbank Writers Program ~ Essay & Form

"It's all about the conversation"

"The Southbank Writer’s Program led a group of beginning writers, many of whom have never shown their work to anyone, through the refining process and towards producing professional quality work, says Katherine McManus, program director for Continuing Studies’ Writing and Communications program.
"Vancouver author Betsy Warland, former director of SFU Continuing Studies’ Writers’ Studiohelped develop the Southbank program. With the success of its inaugural run, Wayde Comptonnew director of the Writer’s Studio, will lead the program next summer.
"Compton is an SFU alumnus as well as an award-winning Vancouver author and publisher and former Writer’s Studio mentor, who more recently became involved with LunchPoems, an SFU Public Square community event."
Program for first-time writers a success
August 24, 2012  By Marianne Meadahl 

Southbank Writer's Program in Surrey

The variety of nonfiction applications of writing will be considered, and within that variety we will consider the Common Good: clarity, coherence, and vitality. From the humblest and most pragmatic to the exalted and poetic, the form of the essay is chosen to communicate, and aligning one’s intentions with one’s process is the key to both enjoyment and effectiveness in nonfiction realms. 
This participatory course follows an interactive format, eliciting opinions and ideas of participants, and honing these through discussion and writing exercises, and engagement with essay-specific norms/ structures. If you want to begin or revise an essay for any reason, if you have been puzzled by others’ responses to essays you’ve written in past, or if you have a burning passion to write and have yet to ‘assay the project’ to your satisfaction, this course will provide you with the opportunity to refine your approach and clarify your path.
This course is available only as part of the Southbank Writer's Program in Surrey.


  • Joanne Arnott

    Joanne Arnott is the author of seven books in three genre, and editor of a few more. Her collection... read more

    Q: Can I just take a few of the creative writing courses in the Southbank Writer's Program?

    A: No. This three-month program is designed
    to help you work on your writing developmentally. It 
    will encourage you to bring writing practice into the 
    foreground of your life and work consistently both 
    on your own and with other writers.
    If you are interested only in specific workshops,
    SFU Continuing Studies offers courses and workshops 
    in creative writing throughout the year.

Kwame Dawes, Chris Abani

Kwame Dawes with Chris Abani, Conversation, 29 September 2010 – Video
Kwame Dawes is a writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and plays. Born in Ghana in 1962, Dawes spent most of his childhood and early adult life in Jamaica. As a poet, he is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of that lush place, citing in a recent interview his "spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music." His book Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius remains the most authoritative study of the lyrics of Bob Marley. 

Dawes has also published 15 collections of poetry. His most recent titles include Back of Mount Peace and Hope's Hospice. His book, Requiem is a suite of poems inspired by the illustrations of African American artist Tom Feelings in his landmark book The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo

He has also published two novels:Bivouac and She's Gone, winner of the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. In 2007 he released a memoir, A Far Cry From Plymouth Rock: A Personal Narrative,called "a poet's eloquent meditation on the complexities of history, race and the oft-broken promise of America," by Geoff Dyer.

You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website; you may also listen to audio recordings of this event there. 

Recorded at Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 29, 2010.





grdodge grdodge   Uploaded on Mar 10, 2009
   "Geography Lesson" "The New Religion" and "Histories, #1"


Chris Abani's prose includes Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985). 

His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun - Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010) Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001). 

He holds a BA in English (Nigeria), an MA in Gender and Culture (Birkbeck College, University of London), an MA in English and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing (University of Southern California). He is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside and the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize & a Guggenheim Award. (source)

thanks to hari alluri for some of these links

Monday, 27 May 2013

Beatrice Lamwaka & Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunya

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva (Elizabeth Day/Observer)

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva has a baby girl called Zion Agasaro and together with her husband, tries to make each day another reason to excel. Writing has been her passion from childhood. For her first degree, her desire was to study Creative Writing which was not available at Makerere University in Kampala and so opted for Bachelor of Arts in Education majoring in Literature in English. After that, she did two certificates in French from Alliance Francaise in Kampala.  Beverley currently serves on the executive board of Uganda Women Writers' Association (FEMRITE) and also works at EASSI, an Eastern African regional organization that focuses on women's rights.
I am a stay-at-home mother of two adorable girls. I coordinate annual writing competitions, founder of the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award and Babishai Niwe Literary Foundation. I also write and read a lot and travel the world whenever I can.


Unjumping (review)

Beatrice Lamwaka (Elizabeth Day/Observer)

Beatrice is the chair of PEN International Women Writers Committee in Uganda. In past she served as General Secretary Treasurer of Uganda Women’s Writers Association (FEMRITE). She currently works with BNPA, and Monitor Newspaper, and contributes to the Global Press Institute.
She was shortlisted for 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing and finalist for the PEN/Studzinski Literary Award 2009, and was a fellow for the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation in 2011 and 2009. 
“My short story was shortlisted for the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing and was first published in the anthology, Butterfly Dreams and Other New Short Stories from Uganda, published by CCC Press, Nottingham, UK.“ Beatrice Lamwaka   [source]

Profile & publications here

some works online

Beatrice currently writes a books column for Saturday Monitor newspaper.

How Uganda's female 

writers found 

their voice 

Elizabeth Day article & source for photos


Farming Ashes: Tales of Agony and Resilience 

Edited by Violet Barungi 

& Hilda Twongyeirwe  


Can a writer earn a living in Uganda? 

Iwaya Mataachi article

some great African books, photo from startjournal

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

Don't Cry For Me Argentina - Nicole Scherzinger 

(Andrew Lloyd Webber 40 Years)

Published on Mar 31, 2013   #EPIC PERFORMANCE !  

Nicole Scherzinger inhabits, embodies, gives tongue to 
a classic song

Versions of a life:


who let in the sky
whole tin the sky

From an interview:
The one book you always recommend is?
I always recommend Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: The Original Scroll. Kerouac described how the writing “went fast because the road is fast.” He had written the whole novel on a strip of paper 120 feet long. He just rolled it through the typewriter and wrote without paragraphs. It just rolled out on the floor and looked just like the road. He wrote it fast and furious as if he was traveling on a long mania-induced sleep deprived road trip. Influenced by Zen Buddhist teachings, he followed the practice of “first thought, best thought” – writing without halting to revise or edit his work. Instead, he wrote from gut instinct which gave his work a fresh, raw, unpolished, accelerating and spontaneous energy and excitement. I recommend the original scroll – the legendary first draft which is rougher, wilder, and racier than the 1957 edition. Real names are used as opposed to pseudonyms giving the manuscript an air of documentary authenticity and subjective realism.  Kerouac is arguably the most famous experimental writer of his time.  Like Henry Miller before him, he helped liberate literature from the traditional literary canon; in the similar way Jackson Pollock liberated painting with his experimental accidental “mistakes” that brought about new startling possibilities in abstract experimental painting. In my opinion, the original scroll is far superior to the edited, sanitized and censored 1957 edition. Reading the original scroll is like reading a totally different book – one truer to Kerouac’s original vision. The publication of the original scroll is a cause for celebration for fans of Kerouac’s writing – rediscovering On the Road as it was originally conceived and envisioned.

~ Kagan Goh, Read All Over-- Kagan Goh, by Erica Mattson 

I haven't read the unexpurgated On The Road, but Kagan's comments bring to mind my frustrations, in reading the expurgated diaries of Anais Nin. One of the literary practioners and theorists whose constellation included Miller, Nin's Diaries were her primary offering and masterworks, writ and polished with the expressed intent of revealing life as she is lived. Unlike her highly experimental novels, and her more straightforward erotica, the diaries were her "scroll." But when the times changed and it became permissible to publish the sexual aspects of her diary, the decision was taken, not to reveal her masterwork in the form read by her friends in typescript, and praised so highly, but in an overheated extraction. Her understanding of life as she unfolds and her artistic decision to reveal it thus, in a true to life and integrative way with all the turns and flows of an actual life, continue to be withheld (as i understand) from all but the archivists.  

These thoughts on presence and absences, constellations of friends and artistic decision-making, the wild spin and changing tempos of life, with an eye to the gate-keepers of all kinds, are a good base from which to consider Kagan Goh's Who Let In The Sky? 

Subtitled, "A son's tribute to his father Goh Poh Seng's courageous struggle with Parkinson's Disease," this small jewel of memoir opens with a biography of the father, a foreword by poet and friend Jamie Reid, and a poem by Goh Poh Seng. There follows seventeen perfect chapters, prose with poetry, of pure Kagan Goh storytelling.  His language is direct and resonant, revealing the particularity of Poh Seng and his son/the author, the particularity of the family constellation and the medical conditions discussed, and through them, the universals: love and relatedness; the vital spirit and creative forces of being; memory (and it's discontents); emotional weather (affection and anger, grief and fear).
"We swim back slowly. I swim close to him; half drowns to get back to shore." (p 24, The Swim) 
"I would rather die than listen to you!" (The Good Fight, p 51)

As the chapters unfold, a sense of transcendence takes hold, not in the sense of a dissociation between mundane and celestial, but in the sense of the simultaneity and coherence of all levels of existence, and the ways in which all are called to surrender. Reality is beautiful. A time to create and a time to be recreated, falling apart, expressing the whole.     
Having worked up an appetite, father uses the blender to make a healthy fruit smoothie with a dollop of yogurt and a spoonful of honey. Famished, I inhale my breakfast like a starving man.
"You eat like a prisoner guarding your food from other inmates," observes father. "Slow down. How do you even taste your food if you eat so quickly? Take your time and enjoy your food."
I eat slower, feeling slightly embarrassed. 
"That's better. Savor every morsel and it will make you immortal."
(Defying the Hourglass, p. 43)
Throughout the book are black and white photographs that relate directly to the stories told. Through the tribulations and trials suffered by this constellation of family members, what shines through is pure love. 

My father holds a baby
with his strong arms up to the sky.
My father
larger than life
lies on the grass
defying gravity itself


Father held me with his strong arms
all my life until the day he died.
Reluctantly father let go
handing me to God.

(Snapshot, p 71)

Central to the tale is the writer's life, the necessary joy, both the pragmatism and the liberation of poetry. At birth, at death, through harmony and dissension, the permeable walls between the worlds soften, and madness sometimes reveals what lucidity cannot. Bring your deathbeds, your heartbreak, your fear of living a life, and your whole family with you, when you read this book.

More about the elder Goh:  

More about Transcendence, disambiguation, which is not the same as simple clarity.

More about the author, on this blog,

Kagan Goh: Out of the Box

Visit Select Books online/to purchase Who Let in The Sky?

Friday, 24 May 2013

Richmond APAC & three local events, June

Three local gatherings of note this month, mark your calendars:

Richmond Aboriginal Parent
Advisory Committee (APAC )

There will be an information meeting on Wednesday,
 JUNE 12 at 7:00 pm 
in the library of HUGH BOYD SECONDARY 

9200 No.1 Road, Richmond BC, V7E 6L5

image from school website
Aboriginal Parent
Advisory Council

Richmond’s Aboriginal Parent Advisory Council works in partnership with the Richmond District Parents Advisory Council:  

· To support parental involvement in education
· To provide increased awareness, understanding and support within the public school system
· To improve communications and the process of sharing information
· To be effective advocates for parents, children and youth
· To advise the School Board on parental views
· To support individual school Parent Advisory Councils (PACs)
The Aboriginal Parent Advisory Committee is forming under the guidance and leadership of parent volunteer Joanne Arnott who has lived in Richmond from the early 1990s. Mother to six young people, she has attended (as a parent) Richmond schools since 1992. She has volunteered on a variety of community-building initiatives over the years, beginning with the First Nations Parent Support Group of Richmond (1993-4), Multicultural Friendship Club at Lord Byng Elementary (1999-2000), and the Pathways Advisory Committee (2006-2008). Since 2008 she has co-organized literary events to bring Richmond families of all ages together with a creative and celebratory focus, and helped to launch the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast.

Please contact Joanne at richmondapac@gmail.com or Andrea at  adavidson@sd38.bc.ca if you wish to join the APAC.


Glen Eden Multimodal Centre Grand Opening & Fundraiser,
June 15th
Saturday June 15th
10 am to 4 pm
#190-- 13151 Vanier Place
Richmond BC
"between IKEA and Richmond Auto Mall"
click here for map

For more info visit Glen Eden (GEM blog or on facebook)
also see,


National  Aboriginal  Day, June 21st 
Friday June 21st
noon to 6 pm
Richmond City Hall
6911 No 3 Rd, Richmond, BC
click here for map
Richmond City Hall. Ray Van Eng photo

National Aboriginal Day is part of Celebrate Canada week and has been celebrated in a variety of ways throughout Richmond over the years. We are very excited to be working together this year with the City of Richmond to have one large event held at City Hall.

The  Richmond  School  District  and  Pathways  Aboriginal  Centre  of  Richmond  Youth Service  Agency  (RYSA),  in  partnership  with  the  City  of  Richmond,  Richmond  Public Libraries,  Richmond  Museum  Society,  and  Vancouver  Coastal  Health  Authority  would like  to  cordially  invite  you  to  Richmond’s  National  Aboriginal  Day  Celebration  on  June 21, 2013.

Elementary school events and workshops will run from approximately 12:00‐2:30, followed by a community open house that will take place between 3:00 and 6:00.

The  community  celebration  will  continue  with  the  annual  Aboriginal  Achievement
Ceremony which will run from 4:30‐5:00.  At this time, we will be honouring Grade 7 and
Grade 12 Aboriginal graduates and their families.

Cedar Feast Barbeque will prepare supper, presented as a gift to the grads and their famillies, available for purchase for other guests. All are welcome.

We would  be  honoured  to  have  you  join us!  

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Confluence: word arts in the estuary

This spring I had the pleasure to work with a group of local school children, generating river-related words in a text-as-decorative-intervention public art project. I came away with large, small, and medium pages, filled with words and phrases. The following series of rectangular word clouds were created via wordle, demonstrating word frequency. 

The heron-shaped word act or word art is also a word-frequency chart, showing the most considered and best favoured words of the students, on my last day in the classroom. The image was created by my daughter Flora using tagxedo. It has become the symbolic image of the public art aspects of the larger No. 1 Road North Drainage Pump Station project. This public art aspect is called Confluence.

Words were submitted in English (many), Chinese (many), Japanese (few) and Arabic (one). Due to limitations of transcription (software & human) only the english words are presented here. The final showcase will present a balanced sampling of the full net of this rich multicultural word harvest.

North No 1 Road Drainage Pump Station Art Panels (Terra Nova)
Backgrounders & context:
Browse the map and discover all the public art in your neighbourhood. You can also browse a list of the artwork. But it doesn’t end here. New features are planned for early 2013 including: artist profiles, advance search capabilities and more online photos of the artworks. View the Public Art Collection.  source
There are 38 stations located throughout the island which house a total of 110 pumps.  At high tide, these pump drainage water into the river.  At low tide, drainage water discharges through the flood boxes into the river via gravity outflow gates.
These stations are powered by electricity and have the capacity to pump up over one million US gallons per minute, if required.  All of the stations are monitored remotely, 24 hours per day, to ensure the pumps are operating effectively.
These pump stations are designed for a 1 in 10 year rainstorm.  To help prevent isolated flooding, the City monitors weather forecasts and pumps down the level of drainage water in the canals prior to any anticipated rainstorms.  This provides extra capacity to hold the surplus drainage water caused by the storm.  source
No. 1 Road North Drainage Pump Station Upgrade
Project Description
The existing No. 1 Road North drainage pump station is nearing the end of its service life and is not able to meet the demands of future development. Completion of this station will replace the existing structure, modernize the equipment and increase the pumping capacity from 1.98 cubic meters per second to 4.5 cubic meters per second to meet future predicted flows.
Location  No. 1 Road at River Road
Project Manager  Mile Racic    source
South No 1 Road Drainage Pump Station (Steveston)
My thanks to Renata Hyrman and her enthusiastic class of students, Spul'u'kwuks Elementary, Richmond BC. I would like to thank Lee Maracle and Eric Fiss among others who have consulted with me on various aspects of this project. Thanks to Mile for his patience, and for providing images of both the project in question (top image, North) and a similar-sounding completed pump station (South), located in Steveston.