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Dead Poets Reading Series
March 12 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm PDT
Readers act as a medium, inviting us to time travel by reading a selection of work by their favourite dead poet. Previously held in North Vancouver and the Vancouver Public Library, Massy Arts Society offers a new home for this longstanding series since it first kicked off in 2007.
• Mark Aguhar (1987 – 2012) read by Laura Fukumoto
• Robin Blaser (1925 – 2009) read by Stephen Collis
• Lee Maracle, OC (1950 – 2021) read by Joanne Arnott
• Edward Taylor Fletcher (1817 – 1897) read by James Gifford
Registration is free/bydonation, open to all and required for entrance
Venue & Accessibility
The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.
The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site. Please refrain from wearing scents or heavy perfumes.
For more on accessibility including parking, seating, venue measurements and floor plan, and how to request ASL interpretation please visit: massyarts.com/accessibility
Covid Protocols: Masks keep our community safe and are mandatory (N95 masks are recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.
The Dead Poets
Mark Aguhar was born May 16, 1987 in Houston, Texas in a Filipino American family. She attended the University of Texas at Austin. Aguhar’s works include performance-based pieces, watercolors, collages, and photography. Often the work was of self-portraits with hair extensions, make-up, gender-specific clothing and a beautiful, unashamed portrait of herself, curves and all and reminds the viewer that Aguhar’s life and mere existence was an act of confronting white hegemony.
Aguhar maintained an online presence on Tumblr, which hosted both her professional and personal websites. As Tumblr user “calloutqueen,” she titled her blog “BLOGGING FOR BROWN GURLS,” posting her thoughts about sexuality, sex, dating, gender, and her work.
“My work is about visibility. My work is about the fact that I’m a genderqueer person of color fat femme fag feminist and I don’t really know what to do with that identity in this world. It’s that thing where you grew up learning to hate every aspect of yourself and unlearning all that misery is really hard to do. It’s that thing where you kind of regret everything you’ve ever done because it’s so complicit with white hegemony. It’s that thing where you realize that your own attempts at passive aggressive manipulation and power don’t stand a chance against the structural forms of domination against your body. It’s that thing where the only way to cope with the reality of your situation is to pretend it doesn’t exist; because flippancy is a privilege you don’t own but you’re going to pretend you do anyway.”
— Mark Aguhar
Aguhar was only a few months away from earning her MFA degree from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) when she died by suicide in Chicago, Illinois, on March 12, 2012. Aguhar will be read by writer Laura Fukumoto.
Born in Idaho in 1925, Robin Blaser became a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance movement. His work was anthologized by Donald Allen in The New American Poetry along with the works of his companions Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Jack Spicer. Blaser came to Canada in 1966 to teach at the newly opened Simon Fraser University where he taught in the English department until his retirement. He became a Canadian citizen in 1972. Blaser’s poetry and prose has been collected into three volumes: The Holy Forest: Collected Poems of Robin Blaser (2007); The Fire: Collected Essays of Robin Blaser (2006), edited by Miriam Nichols; and Even on Sunday: Essays, Readings, and Archival Materials on the Poetry and Poetics of Robin Blaser (2002). In 2006 he received the Griffin Trust for Excellence’s in Poetry’s Lifetime Recognition Award, and The Holy Forest won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2008. Robin died in Vancouver in 2009. Blaser will be read by the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize Stephen Collis.
Lee Maracle, OC, was born in a poor neighbourhood, the North Shore mudflats, on July 2nd 1950. Her mother was Metis and her father Salish. She was a granddaughter of Chief Dan George, and a member of the Sto:lo Nation. Among the most prolific Indigenous writers and an outstanding orator, with some seventeen book titles to her credit, Lee was equally at home writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, oratory, and collaborative works. An influential writer, speaker, and mentor, Lee passed away in Surrey on the 11th of November, 2021. Maracle will be read by poet and co-founding member of Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast, Joanne Arnott.
Edward Taylor Fletcher (1817–1897) was a poet, travel writer, translator, land surveyor, musician, and architect who travelled across Canada from Labrador to Vancouver Island, living in Upper and Lower Canada as well as British Columbia. His poetic models and translation interests ranged from Sanskrit and the Mahabharata, Icelandic and the Poetic Edda, Finnish and the Kalevala, to Greek, Latin, French, German, and English poetry. Fletcher will be read by poet and author of A Modernist Fantasy, James Gifford.
Laura Fukumoto gets paid to talk a lot. She settled in so-called Vancouver more than a decade ago from the Toronto area. She writes about her Japanese-Canadian heritage, queer joy, and mycology. She loves her grandma. BFA Theatre Production from UBC and The Writer’s Studio, SFU.
Stephen Collis is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Commons (2008), the BC Book Prize winning On the Material (2010), Once in Blockadia (2016), and Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten (2018)—all published by Talonbooks. A History of the Theories of Rain (2021) was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for poetry, and in 2019, Collis was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize. He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University.
Joanne Arnott is a writer, editor, arts activist, originally from Manitoba, at home on the west coast. She’s published ten poetry books/chapbooks, among other titles, and edited a dozen volumes by others. Poetry Mentor (The Writers Studio), Poetry Editor (EVENT Magazine), and Shadbolt Fellow (2022). Joanne is a co-founding member of Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast.
James Gifford is Professor of Humanities at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the author-editor of two dozen books. His /A Modernist Fantasy/ won the 2020 Mythopoeic Award, and his poetry has appeared in /SAD Mag/, /The Santa Fe Literary Review/, /North Dakota Quarterly/,among other publications. He has also been active in chamber music and opera as a performer.