media release

Poets explore reconciliation through new work

February 24, 2014

Robin Prest, SFU Centre for Dialogue, 778.782.7885,
Kamilah Charters-Gabanek, SFU Vancouver, 778.782.5151,
Megan Langley, Vancouver Public Library, 604.331.3686,

In honour of Chief Robert Joseph, the 2014 recipient of Simon Fraser University’s Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue, five diverse and distinguished poets are joining together on Feb. 27 to unveil newly commissioned works exploring the concept of reconciliation.

Co-hosted by SFU’s Centre for Dialogue and Vancouver Public Library as part of the City of Vancouver’s Year of Reconciliation activities, Reconciliation Through Poetry features new works from award-winning writers Jordan Abel, Joanne Arnott, Juliane Okot Bitek, Jordan Scott, and Daniel Zomparelli.

Following the live reading, the City of Vancouver will display excerpts from the works at City Hall and distribute them to local schools, libraries and community centres in recognition of the Year of Reconciliation which runs until June 20, 2014.

Chief Joseph is the Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation and Reconciliation Canada Ambassador. A survivor of the Canadian Indian Residential School system, Chief Joseph has dedicated much of his life to supporting other survivors and working to revitalize relationships between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians.

Chief Joseph’s work, built on the importance of shared values and mutual understanding, has taken him to Ottawa as an advisor to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Vatican City as part of a delegation to receive Pope Benedict XVI’s statement of regret for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential schools.

The reading takes place on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 7-9 p.m. at the Central Library, Alice Mackay Room, Lower Level, 350 W. Georgia Street. The event is free, but seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

About SFU

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.

About VPL

Vancouver Public Library has been dedicated to meeting the lifelong learning, reading and information needs of Vancouver residents for more than 100 years. Last year, VPL had more than 6.3 million visits with patrons borrowing nearly 10 million items including: books, ebooks, CDs, DVDs and magazines. Across 22 locations and online, VPL serves nearly 350,000 active members and is the third-largest public library system in Canada.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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