How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun? is a compelling collection of short stories that present an updated and whimsical new take on what it means to be Canadian. Lau alludes to the personal and political histories of a number of young Asian Canadian characters to explain their unique perspectives of the world, artfully fusing pure delusion and abstract perception with heartbreaking reality. The book’s title refers to an interview with Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, who, when asked about the Shanghai Sharks, the team that shaped his formative sporting years, responded, “How does a single blade of grass thank the sun?” Lau’s stories feature the children and grandchildren of immigrants, transnational adoptees and multiracial adults who came of age in the 1990s—all struggling to find a place in the Western world and using the only language they know to express their hopes, fears and expectations.
The City of Vancouver Book Award is given to a book that reflects the city’s rich history and culture. The 26th annual City of Vancouver Book Award will be presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards ceremony at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre on October 7, 2014. The other shortlisted authors include: Bruce Grierson for What makes Olga Run? (Random House), Ashley Little for Anatomy of a Girl Gang (Arsenal Pulp Press), Billeh Nickerson for Artificial Cherry (Arsenal Pulp Press) and David Stouk for Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life (Douglas & McIntyre). The five shortlisted titles were chosen by an independent jury that included: Elee Kraljii Gardener, an award-winning poet and director of the Thursdays Writing Collective; Anna Ling Kaye, editor of Ricepaper magazine; and Jordan Abel, editor for Poetry Is Dead magazine and the former poetry editor for PRISM international. Alma Lee, founder and former artistic director of the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, served as chair.
Word Vancouver is coming to soon! The festival runs from Wednesday, September 24 to Sunday, September 28. Don’t miss the opportunity to see events, readings, and discussion from the vast array of authors and publishers in attendance. Let’s hope the weather holds out! If not, you can always find cover on the poetry bus.
Below are the reading times for some Nightwood Editions authors:
11:00 am The World Poetry Reading Series presents A Taste of China
Hosts Elaine Woo, Yilin Wang. Featured poets Laifong Leung, Synn Kune Loh. The World Poetry Woven Word Tapestry multilingual segments introduced by Tommy Tao and presented by Ariadne Sawyer (English), Anita Aguirre Nieveras (Tagalog), Jaz Gill (Punjabi), and Bong Ja Ahn (Korean).
11:30 am Elaine Woo
Cycling with the Dragon
2:15 pm andrea bennett
3:45 pm Renée Sarojini Saklikar
Children of Air India: un/authorized exhibits and interjections
11:00 am Doretta Lau
How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?
See the Word Vancouver website for a full schedule of events.
Congratulations to North Vancouver-based poet Elaine Woo, who’s releasing her debut poetry collection with Nightwood Editions in September 2014. Elaine has been selected as one of the recipients of World Poetry’s Empowered Poet award! The awards, given to poets with a book or body of work who embody the World Poetry focus on multicultural empowerment, will be given out at Grand Opening of the Fourth World Poetry Canada International Peace Festival. This year’s opening will be held at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in Vancouver in mid-October 2014.
Elaine Woo is a poet, librettist, and non-fiction writer. Her work appears in Arc Poetry Magazine, Shy: An Anthology (recipient of a 2014 silver medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), in the anthology category), V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (a finalist for the City of Vancouver Award in 2012), The Enpipe Line, Ricepaper, and more. Her art song collaboration with Daniel Marshall, Night-time Symphony, won a Boston Metro Opera festival prize in 2013. For more information on Elaine, visit her website at www.elainespath.com.
Her upcoming poetry collection, Cycling with the Dragon, is a personal investigation of family, love, culture and self. Woo’s poems champion the virtue of “smallness”—characters marginalized by society for their age or status (be they women, children, ethnic minorities) struggle to overcome the limitations imposed upon them. Like tenacious seeds breaking through to reach the sun, they ultimately find survival and inspiration in treasured authors and their words, the wilderness, and sometimes dreams and imagination.
World Poetry is a volunteer-based organization created by Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica-Olea in 1997 in order to give recognition to multicultural and multilingual poets and writers, who have written in more than 100 languages spoken in Canada. It now encompasses the World Poetry Reading Series at the Vancouver Public Library; The World Poetry Café Radio Show, which airs every Tuesday from 9-10 pm on CFRO (PST); the World Poetry Canada International Peace Festival, which will run from October 6 to 26, 2014; and more. For more information, go to www.worldpoetry.ca.