Renowned BC Poet Lorna Crozier Comes to VIU for Gustafson Lecture and Reading

Lorna Crozier is VIU’s Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2018. Photo Credit: University of Victoria photo services

October 23, 2018 - 6:00pm

VIU’s Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2018 is Lorna Crozier, one of Canada’s literary giants. She will participate in three events, including a free reading and a lecture that are both open to the public on November 7 and 8. 

Sometimes it can be a risk to speak your mind, but Lorna Crozier learned early that writing poetry that matters means taking that risk again and again.  

The internationally renowned, Victoria-based poet forged a career by writing about women’s desires, experiences of violence and ambition at a time when most poetry textbooks overlooked women’s literary genius. Now Crozier is one of Canada’s literary giants: she won a Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, has written 18 collections of poems, earned five honorary doctorates, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Crozier will be coming to Nanaimo as Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2018. She will talk to generations old and young about what it means for writers to take risks and speak up in today’s world. As the Gustafson poet, she will participate in three events, including a free reading and a lecture that are both open to the public on November 7 and 8.

Crozier says she once asked a brilliant writer she admired why he trembled when he was giving a reading. “He told me that he feared someone shouting from the back of the room, ‘What right do you have to be up there instead of me?’” she says. “That’s one of the biggest risks writers take – assuming that we have some kind of permission to tell our stories to strangers and that those strangers will want to listen.”

“Lorna Crozier’s poems resonate image and metaphor and music and startle with the particular and peculiar beauty held in the ordinary: earth, sky, onion, eggplant, lilac, sparrow, owl, cat, doorknob, lamp,” says VIU English Professor Dr. Deborah Torkko, who will introduce Crozier at the lecture. “The ordinary, for Crozier, is extraordinary, becomes metaphor for wonder as her poetic attention to the ordinary calls into language human relationship, loss, longing, sorrow, and hope. I anticipate – with delight – Lorna Crozier’s readings at VIU.”

As the 2018 Gustafson Distinguished Poet, Crozier will participate in a free public reading on Wednesday, November 7 from 7:30-8:30 pm at White Sails Brewing with VIU Creative Writing student Aislinn Cottell. On Thursday, November 8, the community is invited to come to VIU’s Nanaimo Campus to hear her lecture, titled “Writing and Risk.” The lecture starts at 7 pm in Building 355, Room 203. Courtesy parking is available in Lot N below Building 355. A selection of Crozier’s books, as well as chapbooks of previous Gustafson lectures, will be available at the catered reception following the lecture.

The VIU Ralph Gustafson Chair of Poetry was established in 1998 from the estate of the late Canadian poet and his wife, Betty. The 2018 lecture and other events are funded by the Ralph and Betty Gustafson Poetry Trust, the Canada Council for the Arts and VIU’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

For more information, contact Sonnet L’Abbé, Chair of the Gustafson Committee, at




Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

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