Meet Brian Brett, Poet In Residence

March 16, 2016 | Sarah Weinrauch

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Brian Brett, Canadian poet, memoir writer, fictionist, former chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada and journalist for four decades, is Toronto Public Library’s newest Writer in Residence.

Born in Vancouver, his formidable career started in the 70s working as a freelance journalist and critic appearing in almost every major newspaper in Canada. He inaugurated the B.C. Poetry-In-The-Schools program in 1974, introducing children in schools to world poetry for a period of several years, and has taught or given workshops on writing across Canada. He has been a member of organizations including P.E.N. International, The League of Canadian Poets, and the B.C. Federation Of Writers.

Head shot of Brian Brett
Toronto Public Library's Poet In Residence, Brian Brett

The author of twelve books including the poetry collection, The Colour Of Bones In A Stream, and the novel, Coyote: A Mystery, Brett's memoir, Uproar’s Your Only Music, was a Globe and Mail’s Book Of The Year selection by Ronald Wright: “The most exciting Canadian book I’ve read all year.”  His best-seller, Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life, won a number of prizes, including the Writers’ Trust annual award for best Canadian non-fiction book.

His more recent works include To Your Scattered Bodies Go (2011) which won the CBC poetry prize. The Wind River Variations (2012) is a collection of poems and prose poems about an endangered watershed in the near-arctic, and the third of a trilogy of memoirs, Tuco: The Parrot, The Others and a Scattershot World was published in 2015.

Coyote    The Fungus Garden    Uproar's Your Only Music

Trauma Farm    Tuco    The Colour of Bones

On March 19, reading from his own poetry, fiction, and memoirs, Brian Brett is joined with notable Toronto poets including Ayesha Chatterjee (The Clarity of Distance: Poems), Kate Flaherty (Stone Soup, and Reaching V), spoken word artist Dwayne Morgan (Before I Was Born) and Banoo Zan (The Song of Phoenix: Life, Works of Sylvia Plath, and Songs of Exile). This event will be held in the Hinton Learning Theatre on the third floor of the Toronto Reference Library. Other programs include:

Head shots of Ayesha Chatterjee, Dwayne Morgan, Banoo Zan and Kate Flaherty
Left to right, top to bottom: Ayesha Chatterjee, Dwayne Morgan, Banoo Zan and Kate Flaherty

During his residency at the library, Brian will be working on two new books, Blue Heron Bay, and Voice: A Natural History of Poetry. The Writer in Residence can be reached at [email protected]

Authors and writers working on projects are encouraged to apply for access to the The Writer’s Room at the Toronto Reference Library.  Equipped with 4 desks, lots of outlets, Wi-Fi and a lounge, this creative space offers a quiet and convenient place to work with ready access to the Reference Library collections and to librarians for research support.