Hour 2: Blindfold, Northern Architecture


John Mikhail Asfour's world went dark after a grenade blew up in his face in his native Lebanon. That tragedy has shaped the poet's life ever since. Michael speaks to him about his latest collection, Blindfold.

Architecture of the North: Architecture and barren northern landscapes aren't often thought of as complimentary, but they are for young architect Lola Sheppard.


blindfold1.jpgJohn Mikhail Asfour was thirteen years old when a grenade blew up in his face. It was 1958, and he was a teenager, living in Lebanon during that country's civil war.

Three years later, the full impact of that grenade blast became clear, casting him into darkness. At sixteen, he was completely blind.

He emigrated to Canada in 1968, moving to Montreal where he became a translator, an editor, and a poet.

Blindfold  is his latest book ... a slender collection of thematically linked poems.

It is his seventh book of poetry, five of which are in English and two in Arabic.

The Association of American University Presses chose Blindfold as one of the year's  distinguished books, calling it "a moving collection of poems on the distance surrounding disability".

John Mikhael Asfour is also the editor of the new anthology, V6A: Writing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

He spoke with Michael Enright earlier this year from our studio in Montreal.

Architecture of the North


photo credit: Peter Guthrie via photo pin cc

Some architects dream of building a monument ... like Corbusier's chapel at Ronchomp, the Taj Mahal in India or even Libeskind's Crystal on Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum. 

But few imagine heading into the great white north to create signature buildings. In fact, the words "architecture" and "tundra" are not often heard in the same sentence. 

But for one Canadian architect, the North offers unique challenges to be embraced with enthusiasm. 

And for her efforts, the national organization for Canadian architects has just given Lola Sheppard their 2012 Young Architect Award.

Lola Sheppard is passionate about the relationship between sustainable architecture and how it fits in with and respects nature and the environment, especially in cold climates.

Ms Sheppard is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at University of Waterloo and co-founder of Lateral Architecture in Toronto.

She has worked all over the world - including Rotterdam, Paris and London.

Music in Hour Two: 

Jubilant Nunavut by Kevin Breit and Folkalarm

Emerald Isle by Whitehorse

I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) by Duke Ellington performed by Molly Johnson

Blues of the Prairies from Canadiana Suite by Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen

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