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Book Launch / “The Answer to Everything” by Ken Belford

April 13 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm PDT

On Wednesday, April 13 at 6pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books, and hosts Jordan Scott + Rob Budde for the in-person launch of “The Answer to Everything: Selected Poems of Ken Belford” (2021, Caitlin Press) edited by Jordan Scott, Rob Budde, and Si Transken.

At the event, Jordan Scott, Si Transken, Jeff Derkson, Rita Wong, and Rob Budde will read poems from a collection of Belford’s poetry: his texts from the 1960s in Vancouver; his “lan(d)guage” poetry of the early 2000s influenced by his time on remote Blackwater Lake; and his political-charged poetry of the last decade while he lived in Prince George.

The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.

This event is free + open to all of our community, and registration is mandatory.

Covid Protocols: For all in-person events, attendees must provide proof of vaccination, wear a mask (N95 masks are encouraged and recommended as they offer the best protection), and consent to having their temperature checked at the front door. We ask that if you are showing any symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.

Click here to register for the event

Click here to purchase “the answer to everything”

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Book Synopsis

This poetry collection allows readers to discover or reflect on Ken Belford’s unique and challenging work, seeing patterns and themes in his poetics as they evolved out of his TISH-influenced poetry and into more contemporary dialogues where Belford seemingly establishes a poetic school of his own.

The collection has been organized chronologically, setting foundational texts from his earlier work next to his celebrated recent books that concretized his distinct poetic sensibilities. This remarkable collection is assembled based on Belford’s wishes by those close to him as a definitive record of his life’s work.

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The Author

Ken Belford was born in Alberta and grew up in Vancouver. From 1970 – 2005 he, along with his wife and daughter, operated a non-consumptive ecotourism lodge in the unroaded mountains around Blackwater Lake near the headwaters of the Nass and Skeena Rivers.

The “self-educated lan(d)guage” poet has said that living for decades in the mountains has afforded him a unique relationship to language that rejects the colonial impulse to write “nature poetry,” but speaks from the outside, from the regions of the ‘other’.

“The conventional standards of narrative and lyric poetry give me nothing. The intention of the sequences I write is to assemble words that can be messaged to the habituated souls of the city from the land-aware that live outside city limits.”

Spending his last years in Prince George, British Columbia, with his activist wife, Si Transken, Belford continued to challenge the boundaries of the conventional forms of the various schools of poetry, and maintained dialogues with many poets in Canada and America.

His eight books of poetry are Fireweed, The Post Electric Caveman, Pathways Into the Mountains, lan(d)guage, ecologue, Decompositions, Internodes and slick reckoning.

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Guests

Jordan Scott is the author of Silt; blert; Decomp, a collaboration with Stephen Collis and the ecosphere of British Columbia; and Night & Ox. His chapbooks include Clearance Process and Lanterns at Guantánamo. Both chapbooks treat his experience after being allowed access to Guantanamo Bay in April 2015. Scott has been featured at international literary festivals such as Days of Poetry and Wine in Slovenia, and the Oslo International Poetry Festival in Norway. His work has been translated into Slovenian, French, and Portuguese. Scott was the 2015/16 Writer-in-Residence at Simon Fraser University and works with Broc Rossell at The Elephants.

Si Transken’s doctorate is in Equity Studies from the University of Toronto and is an Associate Professor at UNBC. Her private practice, Trans/Formative Services brings women into her life who are courageous, tenacious, and clawing their way through the pain that patriarchy, classism, heterosexism, and many other oppressions dropped onto their lives. In her private practice she assists women struggling with sexual abuse issues, violence, eating disorders, depression. Si has been involved in Jezebel’s Jam every year as an organizer and a performer. Jezebel’s Jam is an annual fundraiser organized through the Northern Women’s Centre, and has supported numerous organizations around the community, including AWAC, STOP, the Sexual Assault Centre and the Beach House.

Jeff Derksen is the author of four collections of poetry: The Vestiges (2014), Transnational Muscle Cars (2003), Dwell (1994), and Down Time (1990), which won the 1991 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award. Derksen has also written the collection of essays, Annihilated Time: Poetry and Other Politics (2009) and several books of art and architectural criticism. A former professor of English at Simon Fraser University, he now serves as their Dean and Associate Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. He is a founding member of the Kootenay School of Writing in Vancouver and a former editor of Writing magazine.

An Associate Professor in Critical and Cultural Studies, Rita Wong investigates the relationships between contemporary poetics, water justice, ecology, and decolonization. A recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writer Award, Wong is the author of beholden (Talonbooks, 2018, with Fred Wah), undercurrent (Nightwood, 2015), perpetual (Nightwood, 2015, with Cindy Mochizuki), sybil unrest (Line Books, 2008, with Larissa Lai), forage (Nightwood, short-listed for the 2008 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, winner of Canada Reads Poetry 2011), and monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998). Wong works to support Indigenous communities’ efforts towards justice and health for water, having witnessed such work at the Peace River, the Wedzin Kwa, the Columbia River, the Fraser River, the Salish Sea, and the Arctic Ocean watershed. She understands that when these waterways are healthy, life (including people) will be healthy too, and that we cannot afford to endanger and pollute the waters that sustain our lives.

Rob Budde, a UNBC Professor teaching Creative Writing, has published seven books (four poetry-Catch as Catch, traffick, Finding Ft. George, and declining america), two novels-Misshapen and The Dying Poem, and a book of short fiction–Flicker). He has been a finalist for the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer, the McNally-Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year, and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He co-edits Thimbleberry Magazine: Art + Culture in Northern BC.

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