Monday, March 20, 2006

Dub Poets Collective Reading

Toronto friends-- if any of you are free this Friday, I'm reading for the Dub Poets Collective Reading Series. Super excited about it. And I owe apologies pretty much across the board for not telling anyone about this trip or making plans to visit you. What a jerk I am. I miss my Toronto friends! But the rollercoaster these last couple of months has been seriously serious.

Here's the blurb:

Dub Poets Collective Reading Series: Culture Dubbing

Larissa Lai
Larissa Lai was born in 1967 in California, grew up in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and has lived in Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. (hon.) in sociology in 1990. In 2001 she completed an M.A. in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Her poems and short fiction have appeared in many literary journals. She is also an accomplished editor and curator. Lai is currently working on a Ph.D. in English at the University of Calgary. Published works include When Fox is a Thousand (1995) and Salt Fish Girl (2002).

Sandra Alland
Sandra Alland is a poet on the rise frequently seen on stage at a wide variety of Toronto events. Her poetry has appeared in the anthologies The Common Sky: Canadian Writers Against the War (three squares press), Resist! (Fernwood), Fifteen Minutes (13th Tiger Press), Aware in This (Flow Sundays), Primitive Bubble And (Proper Tales Press) and The Big-Eyed Love Child of the Instant Anthology.

L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N. is born and raised in Toronto and is politically, socially and emotionally motivated.
His first CD entitled (Enlightening with Lightening), was nominated for a UMAC Award for Spoken Word Recording of 2005.
L.E.V.I.A.T.H.A.N. is currently working on his Runnin':- The Survival Series Double Album. He is also planning a tour in the United States, Europe, and is penning a science fiction novel.

Where: Dub Poets Collective, 805 St. Clair Ave W, 2nd Floor, Toronto
(between Arlington and Winona)
When: Friday March 24, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.
Door: Suggested $5.00

Contact: Klyde Broox, 416.598.4932 or

Supported by Canada Council for the Arts and Toronto Arts Council

Monday, March 13, 2006


Big huge thank-yous to Roy Miki, David Chariandy and Sophie McCall for making Friday's reading such a great experience. Your tireless commitment to the residency and to the community are amazing. And I am so grateful for your faith in me. Thanks also to Glen Lowry for his smart and insightful interview questions. And to Eileen Kage for her seamless, competent tech work, and to Laura McDonald for running the front of house. Sometimes I am utterly awed by my own good fortune, to be in the company and community of so many amazing people. There were many thinkers and makers in the audience as well, some of whom I've known and respected for years, and other whose young, bright energy and intelligence really makes me excited about the future. Enjoyed sharing my work. It was strange though, to talk about oneself for such a long time. I'd like to organize something soon that is a gathering of people among whose work there are conversations with my work and with one another's work. I am still amazed by what the city has become in the years that I've been away. How some, though sadly not all, of the (good)dreams of the anti-racist movements are coming true.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

you're invited

For those of you who did not receive this six hundred times in your inbox, here's the details on tomorrow's gig. Do come! I'm going to make an attempt to trace the trajectory of my writing practice from the in-your-face early 90s, through the two novels, to the chapbook sewing, crazy collaborating present. I'm hoping it will also read as a history of (some) Vancouver/Calgary/international cultural communities. This is as autobiographical as it gets before I jump off the spaceship and become a fully artificial life form.

Here's the goods:

A Public Reading

Larissa Lai

Writer in Residence

English Department, SFU

Friday March 10, 7 pm

The Western Front

303 East 8th Avenue, Vancouver

Free Admission

The evening will feature a reading by Larissa Lai and
interview with Glen Lowry, editor of West Coast Line

Reception to follow

About Larissa Lai
Larissa Lai's first novel, When Fox Is a Thousand, was
short-listed for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel
Award, and has recently been republished by Arsenal Pulp
Press. Her second novel, Salt Fish Girl, about an ageless
female character who shifts shape and form through time and
place, was shortlisted for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell
Book Prize, the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and The Sunburst
Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. She has also
published short stories, critical articles, and poetry. She
is an accomplished editor and curator, and she is currently
completing a doctorate in literature at the University of
Calgary. In 2005, Lai's work was the subject of a special
issue of West Coast Line, an established periodical on
literature and art. For Writers Larissa Lai will be
available for consultation at Simon Fraser University from
January to June, 2006. To contact her call the Department of
English at
604-291-3136. For information on the Writer-in-Residence
Program, please consult the Department of English website.

Sponsored by the Writer-in-Residence Program with funding
assistance from the Office of the President and the Dean of
Arts, Simon Fraser University.

snow falling on lumber

Eventful events of the week:
Read at Special Collections SFU last Thursday-- some stuff from Nascent Fashion, and a new novel-in-progress, or should that be novel-in-messiness. Hosted by the lovely Tony Power and introduced by the beautiful and ever-supportive Sophie McCall. Thoughtful questions from the audience about research, process, structure. Coffee and cookies in the back room afterwards. I really want to explore the papers there when I have time.

Consultations with some interesting writers-- a young girl in Grade 9 writing brilliant science fiction, a bio-chemistry prof writing very strange and fabulous things about octopi and automata. This week, I also paid a house visit to an elderly woman with an extraordinary story of three marriages and much migration. I took Andrea Actis with me, a very bright young poet who came to see me earlier this term. We need to think through how this might unfold.

Also this week, a most enjoyable and satisfying reading and chat at the SFU Women's Centre, organized by one of the most thoughtful, deeply committed (to politics, to creative practice) people I know, Nadine Chambers. We sat around on couches and drank tea and ate delicious brownies and poppyseed lemon cake baked by the younger sister of a woman called Halima who volunteers at the Centre. It was great to visit with women in such an intimate setting, and find out about their own thinking and writing practices.

Last night, went to SFU Segal Centre to hear Jackie Stacey give a paper entitled "Do Clones Have Feelings?" She looks at two films-- Code 46 and Teknolust-- in order to think through what she calls the "rebiologization of the body" through practices of science in conjunction with filmmaking/viewing. The body that is returned to us through the process of rebiologization is not the body we began with.

Tomorrow is my big gala reading at the Western Front, for those of you out there who might like to come. Starts at 7. Must go now, and plot my course.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

vegan ma po tofu

2 large cakes medium-firm tofu
1 pkg veggie ground round
1 red pepper
1 box oyster mushrooms (or a handful of reconstitued shitaakes, if you aren't allergic)
1 pkg LKK ma po to fu sauce (oops, oyster extractives-- use hot bean paste if you're a purist)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
soy sauce
hot sauce

Chop up onions and garlic. Dice pepper, wash and slice the mushrooms. Cut the tofu into largish cubes. Brown the onions and garlic in a little oil, add pepper towards the end. Add tofu, ground round, mushrooms and sauce. Simmer until the mushrooms are just done and the tofu is cooked through. Add soy sauce and hot sauce to taste. Serve over brown rice with chopped cilantro on top. Easy, healthy and delicious.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Monday night went to the launch of Joy Kogawa's new book _Emily Kato_, which is a rewrite of _Itsuka_. The event was also a fundraiser for a project to save Kogawa's childhood house, which was confiscated by the government at the time of Internment. Roy Miki read a snip from his book _Redress_ that documents the movement to get an apology and compensation from the Canadian government regarding that bleak moment in our history. Alison Nishimura played the piano. Harry Aoki played his mouth organ. He is 87 years old, and his life provided part of the inspiration for the character Stephen in _Obasan_. It was great to hear Kogawa herself read from the new book. She is so charismatic and passionate.

Last night-- oden with with Rita, Hiromi and the kids at Hiromi's house. All of our lives are moving and turning so fast and so intensely. Good to have sisters to share with and think things through. I also went, yesterday afternoon, to take a yoga class with Fiona Stang at Semperviva on Broadway. My practice in the wake of this leg injury has become much more tentative and sporadic. It was so good to make a real connect with it again.

Tomorrow at 12:30 I'll do a reading at Special Collections SFU. It is an amazing place-- houses the papers of many interesting Canadian writers from Roy Kiyooka to bp nichol to Lisa Robertson to Shani Mootoo. Do come, if you're around and have time.