Stephen Collis

Local connection for featured poets at festival

Two of the featured poets at the upcoming Cascadia Poetry Festival in Cumberland are Matt Rader and Stephen Collis.

Both have a local connection as Rader grew up and worked in the Comox Valley and Collis has ancestors who were associated with coal mining on Vancouver Island.

Rader’s first book of poetry, Miraculous Hours, was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poems in Canada and his latest, Desecrations, is a compelling consideration of time, middle age and the import of attending to details that parade across our days.

All together he has four books of poetry, three of which are chapbooks.

His book of short stories, What I Want To Tell Goes Like This, concerns Vancouver Island’s turbulent social history.

Radar read at Poetry@Red Tree last year to an appreciative audience and also read at the Symposium on Cultural Mapping held at the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

He shows a keen appreciation for other poets – like Robert Haas, Seamus Heaney, Mavis Gallant and Wallace Stevens – in his work.

He currently teaches in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna.

Collis grew up on Vancouver Island but now lives in Vancouver.

He is deeply connected to place and has participated and initiated many actions in defense of the southwest coast of B.C.

Called the “most dangerous poet in Canada” for his work against the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, he has also studied, taken part in and written about the Occupy Movement in Dispatches from the Occupation.

His five books of poetry include the Dorothy Livesay Poetry prize-winning On the Material and Mine which “plunges back in time to reconstruct the history of coal on Vancouver Island.”

He has also written three books in the ongoing Barricades Project, and studies of Phyllis Webb, Susan Howe and Robert Duncan (editor).

He currently teaches at SFU.

Cascadia Poetics Lab Society will present the Cascadia Poetry Festival in Cumberland at the Masonic Hall, 2687 Dunsmuir, Sept. 8-10.

Festivities start Friday at 7 p.m. An all access pass can be bought for $20 at Rarebird Bookshop, Laughing Oyster Bookstore, Bop City Records, Blue Heron Books and Red Tree Specialty Coffee.

More details can be found at or on a FB event, Cascadia Poetry Festival.

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