Write a poem about Kogawa House for the City Poems contest

What: Poetry and Place free writing workshop and our AGM
Where: Online and in person
When: Monday, March 28, from 6-7pm
Cost: Free

About this event

The Historic Joy Kogawa House Society invites the public to attend our Annual General Meeting. Pizza, camaraderie, and local literary updates will be served. From 7 – 8:30pm, Vancouver’s outstanding Poet Laureate, Fiona Tinwei Lam, will showcase her City Poems contest and lead a free writing workshop, Poetry and Place.

Poetry and Place

All of us have been shaped by significant places in our lives in myriad, complex ways. Perhaps it’s a particular neighbourhood, a school, a park or trail, a community hub, a favourite cafe or restaurant, a garden or temple that we sought respite and refuge in, or someplace completely different.

This workshop led by Vancouver’s Poet Laureate, Fiona Tinwei Lam, will discuss poetic tools and examples of place-based poems, as well as offer writing prompts to mine the potential for meaningful poems. During the session, there be one or two timed writing periods, followed by sharing in breakout groups. The workshop will conclude with tips on how to revise and polish what you’ve written.

For this workshop, we’d like participants to write poems about Historic Joy Kogawa House. Ahead of the workshop, please think about an object or event related to the house that you’d like to write about. That will provide a starting point for the writing you do.

In-Person and on Zoom

Please join us in person at Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver, or on Zoom.


For the online event, sign up on Eventbrite. To attend in-person, email info@kogawahouse.com. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Portrait of C.E. Gatchalian

Fiona Tinwei Lam (2022 — 2024 Poet Laureate)

Author of three poetry books and a children’s book, Fiona Tinwei Lam’s work also appears in over 40 anthologies, including Best Canadian Poetry (2010, 2017 anniversary edition, and 2020). Her work has won The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford prize and been shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award and has been thrice selected for BC’s Poetry in Transit.

She edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems about Facing Cancer, and has co-edited the nonfiction anthology, Double Lives, with Cathy Stonehouse and Shannon Cowan, and the nonfiction and poetry anthology, Love Me True, with Jane Silcott. Her award-winning poetry videos done in collaboration with filmmakers have screened at festivals locally and internationally.

A former lawyer, Fiona obtained an MFA in creative writing from UBC and presently teaches at SFU Continuing Studies. Find out more on Fiona Lam’s website and Vancouver’s Poet Laureate.

City Poems Contest

During these fraught and challenging times, poetry can offer us an opportunity to forge profound and regenerative connections of insight and understanding, while acknowledging our varied origins and histories. The common human experiences of reflection, wonder, love, grief, or celebration are distilled in the world’s best poems.

Fiona Tinwei Lam hopes to build upon the legacy of her predecessors and encourage people from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to engage in the reading and writing of poetry.

Over the next two years, her legacy project will involve community outreach to encourage the generation of new poems and poetry videos related to the myriad significant historical, cultural, and ecological sites on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh peoples, now known as Vancouver.

The first stage of the project will commence with a poetry contest for youth and adults in 2022. The second stage of her project will then follow with a poetry video and poetry film contest based on the award-winning poems or selected published poems.

Learn more about the city poems contest.