The Balderdash Reading Series, organized by English and Film Studies PhD candidate, Sanchari Sur, held its second event for the fall at the Robert Langen Art Gallery on October 26, 2017.
Pasha Malla, Laurier’s Writer-in-Residence for fall, read an amusing extract from Fugue States in which the narrator describes an attempt at skiing with homemade skis and boots. We are left hanging, wondering if the boots stayed on the intrepid skier.
Jagtar Kaur Atwal, from Cambridge, read an autobiographical poem about the difficulty of speaking in an alien tongue: “Writing has been like walking in knee-deep mud for my fear of rejection.” She finds strength in another kind of voice, a silenced one.
Tanis MacDonald read from a recent issue of Arc Magazine and poems yet unpublished. She shared her poem outlining a professor’s thoughts while invigilating an exam. Apparently, MacDonald has reflected on birds, especially finches, while students are writing their exams.
Canisia Lubrin read from Voodoo Hypothesis and reminds us that “black isn’t always a void.” Meditating on the many recent hurricanes that have hit the Caribbean, Lubrin writes, “We return to burn or bury what we have lost…” when nature swallows “things many times the size of our earth.”
A great event with talented voices…
Balderdash Reading Series runs with the generous support of the Graduate Student Association. It holds monthly readings with new and established writers, often featuring works by writers published in the New Quarterly.
The Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs has presented Professor Tanis MacDonald with the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Teaching Award.
In keeping with Robert Kroetsch’s legacy in Canadian letters and teaching, this award is presented annually to a creative writing teacher who displays an exceptional example of creative writing theory and practice (including implementation and outcomes). The award of $1,000 is for demonstrated innovation(s) in areas including pedagogy, method, design, curriculum, assessment, technologies, learning techniques.
Tanis MacDonald’s submission was “Process Installation: Opening Up Revision in the Classroom.” She notes that the first audience members for this material were the students of EN370: Creative Writing: Poetry in Fall 2016 for whom the material, and the sample poem “The Haunting,” were originally created.
Ashley Little – 2017 Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence
Audience Photo – Taking Flight
Maria Kouznetsova – WLU Waterloo
ESA Executive Members – from left to right: Daniella Cavallini, Heather Hattle, Manreet Lachhar
On Thursday, March 16th, Laurier’s current Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence Ashley Little and the English Students’ Association co-hosted Taking Flight: A Celebration of Creative Writing. Ashley kicked off the evening by reading one of her newest stories titled “Plaza,” followed by readings from the finalists and winners of the ESA’s Second Annual Creative Writing Contest. The contest received many excellent submissions, and all of the runners-up and winners of the contest were on hand to share their work. In the poetry category, the Runners-up were Kyleen McGragh of the Brantford Campus and Jenna Hazard of the Waterloo campus, while Maria Kouznetsova from Waterloo won for her musically-inflected journey through local surroundings titled “Six Impressions of the Walk to Hepcat Swing.”
In the prose category, the Runners-up were Hastings Gresser from the Brantford campus and Jenna Hazard from Waterloo, while second-year English student Sarah Ali (Waterloo) took top honours for her highly inventive transnational piece, “Culling Campaign.”
Following a short intermission, refreshments, and a generous door prize draw sponsored by the ESA, the mic was opened up for other readers, and the audience was treated to a diverse array of creative work by students ranging from first year through to senior levels. Thanks to all who came out to celebrate our campus literary talent!
Dr. Mariam Pirbhai presented the 100 year old history of South Asian immigration to Canada and noted the importance of the Komagata Maru for this community. She has recently edited a special issue on South Asian Canadian writing for Studies in Canadian Literature.
Aboriginal playwright and author Drew Hayden Taylor discussed the challenges of being half-Caucasian and half-Ojibway and growing up in the small community of Curve Lake First Nations. He says that as a child, he escaped from the limitations of his community by reading comics and adventure books, and is now writing more genre fiction, such as his Aboriginal vampire novel, The Night Wanderer and his forthcoming book of native science fiction.
Creative Writing at Laurier
Prize sponsor Doug Heard presented Danielle LeDuc with the Chris Heard Memorial Writing Prize. The prize was established by the Heard family for Chris Heard who was a student at Laurier who loved to write.
Danielle LeDuc read her amazing story, “War: A People’s History” which was surprisingly not about the kind of war you’d imagine.
Dr. MacDonald and several other students from Dr. MacDonald’s creative writing class read the following short pieces:
Anthony Haslam, “Shaman’s Brew”
Dan Douglas, “Fact”
Jenna Galluccio, cento song: “Tired Lovemaking” and poem “Snap, Crackle, Pop”
Jenna Hazzard, “King of Pool”
Dr. MacDonald, “Very Wide Awake,” a poem about the space race and Planet of the Apes
Dr. Maria DiCenzo introduced three alumni who graduated from English or the Film Studies Program.
Andrew Baechler (BA English 2007) played football when he was at Laurier and has now combined his love of reading and his communication skills with sports at his current job. He is the Media Relations, Communications, and Sports Information Officer at the Athletics Department at Guelph University.
Ron Butler (BA Film Studies 2012) loved studying films and even made films for the Fringe when he was at Laurier. He is a cinematographer and filmmaker at Final Frame Productions.
Hanna Burnett (MA 2013, BA EN/FS 2012) says that her MA year at Laurier was the best educational year of her life. She is the Coordinator, Program Services at the Toronto International Film Festival and had entertaining anecdotes about the challenges of classifying and rating films for TIFF.
English Student Association
The English Student Association, represented by Daniella Cavallini, Beniah Lanoue, and Chris presented a PowerPoint series about the association, including aims, benefits of joining the ESA, and events planned for the Winter term, then held a short meeting with prospective members.