Peter and Meredith Quartermain: February 16-17

Friday, February 16th  4PM – Talk & Reading

An Illcolonial Cross-Continent Poem: Talk and Reading by Meredith Quartermain

In 2015 and 2016, Quartermain rode VIA’s The Canadian from coast to coast, which led to her long poem Lullabies in the Real World. Here she adopts the dissonant voice of Odyssea, tangled in unheroic histories, alien literatures, and colonizer tongues, trying to make sense of her own journey, and the journey of Canada’s anything-but-epic nationhood. Among other things, the poem asks where does the Canada train think it’s going, and on whose tracks? Where does nationhood think it comes from? How can biotext and poetry resist and question these?

Coming to Terms: Memoir: Talk and Reading by Peter Quartermain

Peter Quartermain’s Growing Dumb: My English Education tells the story of his boyhood in a rural boarding school in Staffordshire during and shortly after the Second World War, recording the flavor and values of an education and upbringing which uncritically accepted Britain at the head of empire and commonwealth. The story unsettles that acquiescence, with anecdote, humour, detail and event, rather than exposition and argument. Quartermain will talk about memoir as, among other things, invention, research, recovery of voices, as well as read some of the manuscript.

A light dinner will be served after the event. Participants are encouraged to stay and visit.

Saturday, February 17th                                                                                                Writing Insurgent Biotext/Memoir: A Workshop                                                          Lunch at 12:30pm   Workshop 2pm – 6pm

Participants: 12

Writing background: you do not need any prior experience writing memoir, nor do you need to have published anything, but it’s a good idea to have written some kind of text.

Application Process: If you’d like to join the workshop, please send a brief description of your writing background and interests, and a two-page sample of your writing to by February 5th noon.

The workshop will explore ways to mine personal experience and create lively, vivid stories. It will also explore how such stories may resist or undermine standard cultural narratives without resorting to expository language. Participants can expect mainly hands-on activities: they will write and read aloud several narratives of their own life experiences. They will hear feedback from Peter and Meredith and other participants, and have an opportunity to discuss editing techniques. Free of charge.

Meredith Quartermain is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction, including Vancouver Walking (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize); Recipes from the Red Planet (finalist for a BC Fiction award); Nightmarker (finalist for a Vancouver Book Award); and most recently I, Bartleby: stories and U Girl: a novel (biofiction based on her 1970s university years). She was 2012 Writer in Residence at the Vancouver Public Library, and from 2014 to 2016, she served as Poetry Mentor in the SFU Writer’s Studio program.

Peter Quartermain is the author of two books of critical essays (Stubborn Poetries: Poetic Facticity and the Avant-Garde; and Disjunctive Poetics) and the editor of several books of poetry and essays, most notably The Collected Early and The Collected Late Poems and Plays of Robert Duncan. Quartermain has spent the last five years completing his memoir, Growing Dumb: My English Education. Parts of it have appeared in Golden Handcuffs Review, The Capilano Review and other publications, and he has shared some of it with audiences in Vancouver, London and New York. For 30 years he taught poetry and poetics at UBC. As 2003 Writer in Residence at Capilano University, he gave the Koerner Lecture on life-writing.

The Insurgent Architects’ House for Creative Writing
Social Sciences Tower 1059, University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta

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