Discover beauty and transformation in grief poetry, explore identity and home through poetry, music, and photography, and celebrate a memoir launch.

Sunday, November 19

Two Sides of the Heart’s Coin: Beauty and Transformation in Grief Poetry with Karen Parrish

In this workshop we will explore poems that illustrate this duality of grief by showing how trauma, disbelief, and sadness can balance with a new creative engagement with the world and a heightened compassion for self and others.

Karen Parrish, a poet and grief group facilitator with the Lower Mainland Grief Recovery Society, holds a certificate in fine art from Emily Carr University and a Master of Fine Arts from Syracuse University. With a background in English and American Literature from Harvard University, Karen navigated the challenges of becoming a single person after a lifelong relationship ended in October 2019.

Finding solace in literature, she turned to daily walks in Pacific Spirit Park, expressing her journey through haikus on her iPhone. During her residency at Historic Joy Kogawa House from October 1 to November 30, 2023, Karen aims to edit and publish over 1,500 grief haikus while presenting two public programs.

Thursday, November 23

Hakka Bridges with Jin He, Sean Gunn, and Effie Pow

Cultural identity is a living practice that connects people and communities beyond our own, and builds bridges to our past, present, and future in unexpected ways. Join us in exploring identity and home for an evening of poetry, music, and photography.

Jin He 何錦龍 (he/they/queer) is a Hakka Chinese from Guangzhou currently living, learning, and working on the unceded territories of Coast Salish peoples.

Jin is an Intern Architect AIBC, educator, artist, poet, and homesteader working towards a holistic future between the intersections of land, language, environment, culture, food, body, and ecosystems.

Sean Gunn (he/him) is a founding member and board director of Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop. His poetry has been published in anthologies Inalienable Rice and Many-Mouthed Birds: Contemporary Writing by Chinese Canadians. His music career included playing in Chinatown house bands and in bands such as Number One Son, Running Dog Lackeys, and Kokuho Rose Prohibited.


Effie Pow (she/they) is a writer/editor and cultural connector who lives and works in Vancouver on the unceded traditional Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories.

Effie is the co-facilitator of the 2023 Queer Asian writing circles and past writer-in-residence at Joy Kogawa House.

Sunday, November 26

Reading and book launch celebration of Accidental Blooms by Keiko Honda

“Resilience is not about ‘I work so hard,’ or ‘I have certain powers or strengths’ to keep me going,” says Keiko Honda. “It’s more being aware of a gift you overlook.”

Accidental Blooms tells the transformative story of Keiko Honda, a successful cancer epidemiologist in New York City who, after being suddenly paralyzed from the chest down due to a rare autoimmune disease, finds a new life in Vancouver, Canada.

The book explores her journey of resilience, community, and self-discovery as she transitions from a career in science to becoming an artist. Through informal artist salons and a supportive community, Keiko embraces a life dedicated to art, friendship, and the continual process of self-discovery as a mother, Japanese immigrant, survivor, and artist.

Please join Keiko Honda and friends for a literary reading and book launch celebration of Accidental Blooms in-person at Joy Kogawa House.