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Canada Reads Poetry: forage by Rita Wong

forage by Rita Wong

Canada Reads Poetry is a three-week online initiative presented by CBC Books and the National Post. Inspired by the original Canada Reads format, Canada Reads Poetry features five panelists defending five collections of poetry. That's where the similarities end; while Canada Reads plays out on-air, Canada Reads Poetry plays out online.

Over the next two weeks, CBC Books will look at the collections chosen by our esteemed panel for Canada Reads Poetry and the poets who wrote them. The National Post will be publishing the defences written by the panelists. First up: forage by Rita Wong, which is being defending by Sonnet L'Abbé.

In forage Rita Wong reflects on issues like the ecological crisis, and the way in which the developing world becomes a dumping ground for our toxic waste.

Below, you can listen to CBC host Mary Ito read "Fluorine," a poem from forage. In "Fluorine," Wong draws a connection between the chemicals she's exposed to and their effect in countries many miles away.

Rita Wong

Originally from Calgary, Rita Wong currently lives in Vancouver and teaches Critical and Cultural Studies as an assistant professor at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She has also worked as an archivist and an activist.

Wong has written two books of poetry: monkeypuzzle and forage. In her work, Wong explores the relationship between contemporary poetics, social justice, ecology and decolonization, deftly balancing her more polemical stances with striking lyricism.

In 1997, Wong won the emerging writer award from the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop. In 2008, forage won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, an honour awarded annually to the best collection of poetry by a British Columbia resident.

Tomorrow, we will talk to Rita about her work.

Meanwhile, head over to the National Post's books blog, The Afterword, to read why Sonnet L'Abbé chose forage for Canada Reads Poetry and why she thinks it has what it takes to win.

forage © 2008 by Rita Wong. Published by Nightwood Editions. Used with permission of the author and the publisher.

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