Canada’s Parliamentary Poet, Fred Wah


Photo by (c) Lawrence Schwartzwald

Went down to a little cafe, Hogan’s Alley, on the fringe of Vancouver’s Chinatown last night to hear one of Canada’s top poets, Fred Wah, the current Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate and to hear other random readers at the open mic that kicked off the casual evening.

It’s amazing that someone with Wah’s talent and history at the craft, is available, up close and personal at some small cafe. Just seems so Canadian and probably the lot of being a poet in Canada. It was clear there was ambivalence about ¬†walking the tightrope of a fine line that such a role requires. Probably not all that much time for writing poetry what with ¬† travel and involvement in so many other projects: workshops, festivals and in elementary and secondary schools across the country.

Having a chance to hear someone who is a master at the craft is not only inspiring but it’s a necessity for recalling why poetry is, regardless of how few in society might think of it this way, instrumental to finding a path to the wonder that so often seems absent in dailiness and my reason for believing that a life without intersection with the Arts would have so much less magic. That’s how it felt to hear the man read.

Listen to one of his poems.

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