Zooming: Meredith Quartermain & Bertrand Bickersteth
Okay, so this event isn’t technically in Vancouver, but it’s on Zoom – is it technically anywhere? Whatever – Meredith is from Vancouver, and she’s reading poetry with Bertrand. That’s good enough for us.
The Single Onion is teaming up with Calgary’s Shelf Life Books and NeWest Press to present an online reading for two new poetry books from Bertrand Bickersteth and Meredith Quartermain. The event will take place on Zoom. Click here to register. (Note: This event is at 7:00pm Mountain time: that’s 6:00pm in Vancouver)
Born in Sierra Leone, Bertrand Bickersteth grew up in Edmonton, Calgary, and Olds, Alberta. After an English degree at UBC, Bertrand continued studying in the U.K. and later taught in the U.S. A return to Alberta provided him with new insights on black identity and most of his writing has been committed to these perspectives ever since.. Although he writes in several genres, anticlimactically, the topic is always the same: what does it mean to be black and from the prairies? He has also given many public talks including a TED Talk for BowValleyCollegeTEDx called The Weight of Words. His poetry has appeared in several publications, including most recently The Antigonish Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Fieldstone Review. He has also been published in The Great Black North and the forthcoming anthology The Black Prairie Archives (2020). In 2018, he was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. He lives in Calgary, teaches at Olds College, and writes everywhere.
His debut poetry collection explores what it means to be Black and Albertan through a variety of prisms: historical, biographical, and essentially, geographical. The Response of Weeds offers a much-needed window on often overlooked contributions to the province’s character and provides personal perspectives on the question of Black identity on the prairies. Through these rousing and evocative poems, Bickersteth uses language to call up the contours of the land itself, land that is at once mesmerizing as it is dismissively effacing. Such is Black identity here on this paradoxical land, too.
Meredith Quartermain is a poet and novelist living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her first book of poetry, Vancouver Walking, won a BC Book Award for poetry; Recipes from the Red Planet was a finalist for a BC Book Award for fiction; and Nightmarker was a finalist for a Vancouver Book Award. A novel called Rupert’s Land was released by NeWest Press in Fall 2013. She has since published a collection of stories entitled I, Bartleby, in 2015, and a novel, U Girl, in 2016. She is also cofounder of Nomados Literary Publishers, who have brought out more than 45 chapbooks of innovative Canadian and US writing since 2002. From 2014 to 2016, she was Poetry Mentor in the SFU Writer’s Studio Program, and she has enjoyed leading workshops at the Kootenay School of Writing, The Toronto New School of Writing and Naropa University.
Her book Lullabies in the Real World is a sequence of poems about a train journey from West Coast to East Coast that invokes a patchwork of regions, voices and histories. Her language zings with train rhythms as she unfolds a complex conversation with poets such as bpNichol and Robin Blaser. Rich, playful and confrontational, Lullabies in the Real World widens the poetic lens of poetry to investigate the place of a colonial nation in history, and the place of a poet vis-à-vis the voices of other poets.
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