Best Canadian Poetry

Moderator: Rob Taylor

Event Number: 65

Free (pay what you can)
Thanks to the support of the Y.P. Heung Foundation, Government of British Columbia and Raincoast Books.

Best Canadian Poetry

Saturday, Oct 26
2:00pm - 3:30pm
Waterfront Theatre

1412 Cartwright Street

Every year, The Best Canadian Poetry series collects the fifty finest Canadian poems published across journals and magazines. A stellar snapshot of contemporary Canadian poetry today, this event features leading Canadian poets, including 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize winner Billy-Ray Belcourt (NDN Coping Mechanisms), Gerald Lampert Award winner Kayla Czaga (Dunk Tank), Assistant Professor of Indigenous Literature at UBC and wordsmith Dallas Hunt and Souvankham Thammavongsa (Cluster), whose work has appeared in outlets including Granta and The Paris Review. An electrifying showcase of wordplay, these insightful, innovative writers will read their work and discuss the ways they each push the boundaries of poetry to respond to social concerns. It’s the perfect start to any poetry lover’s morning.

Event Participants:

Billy-Ray Belcourt


Billy-Ray Belcourt (he/him) is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. His debut book of poems, This Wound is a World, won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, and was named the Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the 2018 Indigenous Voices Award. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and the Raymond Souster Award. It was named by CBC Books as one of the best Canadian poetry collections of the year. Billy-Ray is a Ph.D. student and a 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He is also a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and holds a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Wadham College at the University of Oxford.

Kayla Czaga

British Columbia

Kayla Czaga is the author of one previous collection of poems, For Your Safety Please Hold On, and the chapbook Enemy of the People. Her work has been awarded the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Canadian Authors Association’s Emerging Writer Award and has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and the Debut-litzer. She lives in Victoria, B.C.

Dallas Hunt

British Columbia

Dallas Hunt is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. He has had work published in the Malahat Review, Settler Colonial Studies, and American Indian Culture and Research. He is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Literature at UBC. His first children’s book, Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock, was published through Highwater Press in 2018, and was nominated for the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award.

Souvankham Thammavongsa


Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of four poetry books, Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. Her debut collection of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, will be published by McClelland & Stewart in the spring of 2020. She was born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, and was raised and educated in Toronto.