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), Almost Islands: Phyllis Webb and the Pursuit of the Unwritten (2018), and A History of the Theories of Rain (2021)—all published by Talonbooks. In 2015 he was awarded the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy, after he was sued by oil company Kinder Morgan, whose lawyers entered Collis’s poetry as evidence in court. In 2019 he was the recipient of the Latner Writers’ Trust of Canada Poetry Prize in recognition of his body of work, the jury noting: “Through six collections of poems, Stephen Collis has achieved something remarkable: an invigorating body of work that convincingly addresses both the urgency of the present moment and the long echoes of our historical and lyrical past.”
Collis’s poetry gravitates towards environmental and social justice themes, while exploring the continuing possibilities of the commons. Since 2015 he has worked closely with the Refugee Tales community in the UK, organizing and participating in walks and other activities in solidarity with refugees, asylum seekers, and people with lived experience of immigration detention. Current projects include a prose work on mobility, memory and confinement, as well as The Assembly: New and Selected Poems from the Barricades Project.