UBC Library at Word Vancouver Reading and Writing Festival at UBC Robson Square

With support from UBC Connects at Robson Square, Word Vancouver hosted the festival at Robson Square marking it the 29th annual festival in the city of Vancouver. UBC Library sponsored two sessions which included the Rare Books & Special Collections and Asian Library.

“Poetic Responses to the Archive”


UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, in partnership with Word Vancouver, facilitated a session with two poets whose work responds to archival materials in their holdings. Rina Garcia Chua performed three poems from her upcoming poetry chapbook, “A Geography of (Un)Natural Hazards.” These pieces are poetic responses to the Jim Wong-Chu fonds and the Chinese Canadian Research Collection at the UBC Library’s archives. They are visual and aural poems that embody the counternarratives of migrant labour, migration, and environmental extraction that resist and negate Canadian “multiculturalism.” Carolyn Nakagawa shared a poem sequence inspired by letters from the Joan Gillis fonds, written by teenage Japanese Canadians to their former classmate Joan after their forced uprooting from the British Columbia coast in 1942. Nakagawa quotes and paraphrases from the archival letters, separating out unique authors’ voices before weaving them together to listen to the individual and shared experiences of young people yearning for friendship, normalcy, and home.  Session facilitated by Krisztina Lazlo, RBSC Archivist.  This event took place on September 16, 2023, at UBC Robson Square. Link to watch the recording of this event

“Language in Times of Oppression and Great Change”


Oppression can take the form of erasure. Turbulent times can leave their mark on the languages of those who lived them. Ayaka Yoshimizu (UBC Asian Studies) will discuss the work of Tamura Toshiko, a feminist writer from Tokyo known primarily for her work produced in Japan. Her talk focused on Tamura’s less-studied writings published in the late 1910s Vancouver for working-class women in the local Japanese Canadian community. Saeyong Kim (Asian Library) touched on poets whose works are collected in UBC Asian Library and discussed how not only the evaluation of one’s literary merit but also the availability of one’s works can fluctuate with the changes in political climate or public opinion.  Session facilitated by Shirin Eshghi Furuzawa, Head of Asian Library.  This event took place on September 16, 2023, at UBC Robson Square.  Link to watch the recording of this event

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