Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. The year 2013 being the fiftieth anniversary of the Vancouver Poetry Conference at the University of British Columbia, Wah uses the occasion to outline how a group of young poets at UBC (and this included George Bowering, Jamie Read, and himself among others) were discovering, through their publication of poetry in the newsletter TISH, that it was possible to write in new forms. The 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference brought home to them that they had "permission" to shatter the poem's strict line patterns. Wah notes that there was never a TISH manifesto but that the conference confirmed the group's sense that the 1960s would bring into being a new kind of poetry, that he now had permission to "disturb the words."
Fred Wah was born in 1939 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, to parents of Swedish and Chinese origin. He studied Music and English at U.B.C. before shifting to Linguistics and Literature at SUNY Buffalo. From 1967-1989, Wah taught at Selkirk College and David Thompson University Centre in Nelson while living in South Slocan, raising a family and writing more than a dozen books of poetry. He taught English and Creative Writing in Calgary until his retirement in 2003. Wah was one of the founders of the groundbreaking TISH poetry magazine, which ran from 1961-1966. He has received major literary awards for his work, including the Governor General's award for Waiting for Saskatchewan. His So Far won Alberta's Stephanson Award, and Is a Door won the Dorothy Livesay prize for poetry. In 2011, Wah was appointed as Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate, the fifth poet to hold this office. Last year was he was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada for his groundbreaking work as a poet and for his contributions to the life of poetry in Canada. Author City: VANCOUVER, BC CAN