Wednesday, 24 April 2013

U is for UBCO...

Considering that my last literary posting ('B is for Book Launch') focused mainly on talent from Okanagan College, Kelowna, it seems only fair to give equal time to UBCO (University of British Columbia, Okanagan), who also have an active creative writing department.  Luckily an oppportunity presented itself to do this very thing last Friday night, with a poetry reading put on by the University in conjunction with its launch of the latest, eighth, and sadly final issue of their creative writing publication 'Lake'.

Reading at this well attended event at the Rotary Centre for the Arts (held in the ultra-cool 'Alterantor Gallery) was award winning poet Tim Linburn, whose work has been described thusly by Sonnet L'Abbe for The Globe and Mail: 'Lilburn's erudition continues to astonish. At the microlevel, his turns of phrase can be breathtaking'.  

The reading previewed Linburn's latest book, 'Assiniboia', which is described by publishers McLelland & Stewart as 'a richly textured imagining of a Western Canada that could have been. Theatrical, operatic... Tim Lilburn's eighth collection gives us a new land peopled by figures from the visionary governments of Louis Riel and from the western mysticism, as well as land forms with the power of speech, all acting together as a kind of ghostly army bent on overturning more than a century of colonial practice'. Linburn read selections for the book and also one of his two poems appearing in Lake 8. 

This multi-media evening also included static presentations by second year UBCO creative writing students of final work from 'The Plant Intelligence Project' which, according to UBCO's website, has students 'blending plant metaphors with plant science to discover their emerging literary voice'. My personal favourite was a series of Haiku's written about specific plants and then written out and photographed against a natural setting - clever, interesting and thoughtful work.

As for Lake's swansong publication, it is a real shame that the Okanagan is losing this creative showcase.  'Sadly, we just couldn't get sustainable funding,' explains co-editor Nancy Holmes.  However, the Lake team will continue to work through the Lake Publishing Society, and are looking to publish some limited editions encompassing art and the environment, and continue with an online presence.  To keep up to date with what is happening, check out their website at