Evelyn Lau, Vancouver’s current Poet Laureate – “the people’s poet” took the time to share her poetry with us this morning and also answered questions from the audience about her writing process and role as Poet Laureate. A very accomplished and talented writer from a young age, Evelyn Lau was first published at the age of 18, and in 1992, she became the youngest poet ever to receive a Governor General’s Award. To date, she has 5 volumes of poetry, two works of non-fiction, two short story collections, and a novel. Her works have been translated into a dozen languages worldwide.
After reading a number of poems, Lau shared her perspective on poetry and writing, explaining why she has always been drawn to poetry – “I have always liked working in a smaller space where every word has to count for itself.” Her writing process involves her retreating from the world and going for long walks. In fact, she explained “…when I am at a loss, I go for a walk at the mall. I do my best thinking there.”
When asked about her role as Poet Laureate, Lau’s passion for poetry shone through in her response. She explained that her role is to promote poetry, and her goal is to make poetry more accessible and “everyday.” She has partnered with Poetry in Transit in an attempt to promote poetry and get rid of the fear that so many people have of poetry. The organization prints posters of poetry and posts them in bus shelters, businesses, schools, and other locations throughout the city. Thank-you Evelyn Lau, for your enjoyable and inspirational talk!