The view from here: Selections from the SFU Art Collection. Installation documentation, SFU Gallery, 2021. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography.

Workshop Series: Shifting Perspectives with Stephen Collis and Isabella Wang

Friday, January 28 and Friday, February 4, 12:30pm
Registration required

In this two-part writing workshop, poets Stephen Collis and Isabella Wang and exhibition curator Karina Irvine will guide participants through a discussion of the current exhibition at SFU Gallery, The view from here: Selections from the SFU Art Collection, and the issues it raises. In the first session, Collis and Wang will present poems written in response to the exhibit, and then introduce participants to a writing exercise that engages questions of the built and natural environments and our ever-shifting perspectives of them: what is the view from where you are, and what can and cannot be seen through your own embodied presence and experience? In the second session participants will share their responses in a spirit of ongoing conversation. 

As Irvine writes, the exhibition “draws on an ongoing critique of urban development and resource extraction in the region known as British Columbia.” Here are artworks exploring damage to the earth and to community, disruption of natural processes and the displacement of human lifeways, and the growing rifts between human life and its “natural” setting, as well as the rifts between the forms and qualities of individual human lives. Throughout, these works “challenge the recognition of landscapes viewed from a distance as the predominant connection to place.”

Stephen Collis is the author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, including The Commons (2008), the BC Book Prize winning On the Material (2010), Once in Blockadia (2016), and Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten (2018)—all published by Talonbooks. A History of the Theories of Rain (2021) was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for poetry, and in 2019, Collis was the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Latner Poetry Prize. He lives near Vancouver, on unceded Coast Salish Territory, and teaches poetry and poetics at Simon Fraser University.

Isabella Wang is the author of the chapbook, On Forgetting a Language (2019), and the debut poetry collection, Pebble Swing (2021). Among other recognitions, she has been shortlisted for Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year Award, The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Contest and Long Poem Contest, and was the youngest writer to be shortlisted twice for The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Essay Contest. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over thirty literary journals and three anthologies. She is pursuing a double-major in English and World Literature at Simon Fraser University, and is an Editor at Room magazine.