Throughout the September 2015-June 2016 year we wrote about food. Vancouver poet Laureate Rachel Rose, whose three-year term focusses on community building through poetry about food, deputized Elee Kraljii Gardiner as one of her poetry ambassadors. Elee brought the idea of food to TWC and the writers explored food politics, scarcity, security in our creative writing. We also read texts about food, cooking, provisions and so forth that spring from different genres and cultural sites. We tasted food, shared meals, wrote about still lives and then ate them – we wrote recipes such as “How to Survive in the DTES”. We touched on Proust and his madeleines. We wrote about our families’ feast days. We wrote about taboo foods and comfort foods. We thought about what sustains and nourishes us as a writing community.
Part of this is collaborating with different scholars and student groups such as Prof Lucas Crawford’s SFU Gender Studies course and Prof Margot Young’s UBC law students. In both exchanges we brought down barriers and solidified friendships by talking about food issues over delicious, shared meals. These connections are stimulating and enduring and take us (literally) to places we never dreamed we would visit, such as a yurt on a farm at UBC!
Here is a short video to give you a flavour of some of our events, made by Anne Watson:
We also held a Literary Verses and Courses event at Heartwood Community Café and heard from First Nations herbalist Cease Wyss. Thanks to Anne for capturing this, too!
We capped off the excellent year with a launch for our eighth chapbook, The Menu! We had a full house on June 19, 2016 for the launch, which was opened by Rachel Rose reading some of her own poems.