The Poetry Bash

Host: Billeh Nickerson

The Poetry Bash

Thursday, Oct 22
Live on Zoom

We say it year after year: The Poetry Bash is a long-time audience favourite for a reason. There’s a reverence in the air, and a sense of possibility met with hilarity, collective gasps and cathartic insights. Our 2020 Bash is no different thanks to a stellar lineup of poets and returning host Billeh Nickerson. If anyone can make an event jump from the screen, it’s Billeh. Spend the evening with Cicely Belle Blain—author of Burning Sugar, activist and the visionary behind Stratagem; American Book Award winner Natalie Diaz with her “anthem of desire against erasure,” Postcolonial Love Poem; Patrick Friesen, sharing tips for Outlasting the Weather in a collection from his 26 years of work; John Freeman pondering the lives of the Park (and what they say about us); Noor Naga reading from her verse-novel Washes, Prays; and Scotiabank Giller-prize winning author Ian Williams sharing his Word Problems. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re likely to find it tonight.

Presented in partnership with KPU Creative Writing and SFU’s Department of World Languages and Literature.

BILLEH NICKERSON is a Vancouver-based author of five books and a past Editor of both Event and Prism International. His sixth book, Duct-Taped Roses, is forthcoming with Book*hug. He is Co-Chair of the Creative Writing department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC.

Event Participants:

Cicely Belle Blain

British Columbia / United Kingdom

CICELY BELLE BLAIN is a Black/mixed, queer femme from London now living on the lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. They are noted for co-founding Black Lives Matter Vancouver and subsequently being listed as one of BCBusiness magazine’s 30 under 30. They are now the CEO of Cicely Blain Consulting, a social justice-informed diversity and inclusion consulting company with over 100 clients across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Natalie Diaz

United States

NATALIE DIAZ is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press, and her second book, Postcolonial Love Poem, was published by Graywolf Press in March 2020. She is a MacArthur Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow, a United States Artists Ford Fellow, and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. Diaz is Director of the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and is the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

John Freeman

United States

JOHN FREEMAN is an American writer and literary critic. The former president of the National Book Critics Circle, Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary biannual, and author of two books of nonfiction. The former editor of Granta and current executive editor at LitHub, he lives in New York, where he teaches at The New School and is Distinguished Writer-in Residence at New York University.

Patrick Friesen

British Columbia

PATRICK FRIESEN has published more than a dozen books of poetry, a book of essays, has written stage and radio plays, and has co-translated, with Per Brask, five books of Danish poetry, including Frayed Opus for Strings & Wind Instruments by Ulrikka Gernes, which was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2016.

Noor Naga

Egypt / United States

NOOR NAGA is an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto, and now lives in Alexandria. She is the winner of the 2017 Bronwen Wallace Award, the 2019 Disquiet Fiction Prize, and the 2019 Graywolf Press Africa Prize for her book, Washes, Prays. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Granta, The Walrus, The Common, The Sultan’s Seal, POETRY and more.

Ian Williams

British Columbia

IAN WILLIAMS is the author of five books. His novel, Reproduction, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His last poetry collection, Personals, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award. Not Anyone’s Anything won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada. You Know Who You Are was a finalist for the ReLit Poetry Award.