Gustafson Poetry Chair Dennis Lee reads at VIU Oct. 18

October 16, 2012 - 8:53am

Enjoy an evening of poetry at Vancouver Island University Thursday, Oct. 18 with award-winning Canadian poet Dennis Lee.

Lee, the 2012 Gustafson Distinguished Poetry Chair, will read selections of his work during a free public lecture at VIU’s Nanaimo campus, 7:30 pm, Building 355, in the auditorium.

A catered reception, and book-signing in the Royal Arbutus Room, Building 300 follows the lecture. There will be a cash bar.

Copies of Lee’s books are available from the Bookstore on campus and will be sold at the event.

Entitled “Re-greening the Undermusic”, Lee’s lecture will explore the changes in his adult poetry over the last five decades.

Lee has served as a Professor of English at the University of Toronto, and held other teaching positions. He received the 1972 Governor General’s Award, the Order of Canada, and many other awards.

Lee was named Toronto’s first Poet Laureate and is co-founder of House of Anansi Press. He is a distinguished scriptwriter and lyricist.

“While Dennis Lee is perhaps most widely known for Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight, which have delighted countless children and their parents, his more serious work Civil Elegies, is at the core of the Canadian canon,” said Frances Sprout, English instructor at VIU.

“His latest book Testament is a brilliant, fierce, and inspiring response to the environmental devastation we are witnessing globally.”

VIU students will have the opportunity to speak with Lee about his poetry at a student-only event Oct. 17.

The Gustafson Distinguished Poetry Chair was established in 1998 through a Trust set up from the estate of the late, pre-eminent Canadian poet Ralph Gustafson and his wife, Betty.

Managed through Vancouver Island University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the Chair has previously been held by such celebrated poets as Don Domanski, Carol Ann Duffy, Dionne Brand, Don MacKay, Liz Lochhead, Robert Bringhurst and Jan Zwicky.

The Gustafson Distinguish Poets Series is co-sponsored by VIU’s Departments of English and Creative Writing, and the Vancouver Writers' Festival.

For further information, contact Frances Sprout, member of the Gustafson Committee, at or visit

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