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Rita Wong to Appear at Robson Reading Series Event

Posted: September 17, 2009

Rita Wong, author of Forage, will read on Thursday, September 24, at 1 pm in Lillooet Room 301 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (1961 East Mall) at UBC Point Grey. To learn more about this event or the Robson Reading Series, please email or call 604-822-6453.

Rita is the author of three books of poetry: sybil unrest (co-written wih Larissa Lai, Line Books 2008), Forage(Nightwood 2007), and monkeypuzzle (Press Gang 1998). In 1997, she received the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop Emerging Writer Award, followed by the Dorothy Livesay Prize in 2008. She lives in Miami and Vancouver and teaches Critical and Cultural Studies at the Emily Carr Institute.

Forage is a lament against a culture of mass consumerism inherited to today’s generation. Wong breaks ground with her stark honesty and refreshing rhythm, style and contemporary dialog. Hailed by Dionne Brand, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, as “trenchant, tender, urgent, fevered and wise," Brand goes on to say that “ …Wong’s forage is an ecoindictment; a harmolodic for the bruised planet.”

Like the title suggests, the poems in forage address the ravaging of the planet and humanity by abusive powers. Wong’s discourse situates itself on modern international political planes, but leaves space for humour, beauty and resilience to shine within this burning global landscape. forage confronts our current “value chain” in relation to such colossal topics as patriotism, environmental issues, race and gender roles, history, media, food, housing, addiction and the unsubstantiated accumulation of waste.

Wong intersperses the pages of forage with clever wordplay and frames her poems with evocative marginalia, Chinese characters and quotes from influential cultural icons. forage sings a song of “skeptical love in a body politic with revolt” through “the corridors of power noisy with mistakes” (stance). In the words of Shani Mootoo, “this little book of poems leads the literary wing of the 21st century’s people’s revolution” and is a vivid, fierce commentary on our international political landscapes and the injustices it breeds.