Asian Heritage Month

Roy Miki Celebration - Tracing the Lines Symposium

Roy Miki and the Kootenay School of Writing

Thursday, July 17, 2008 | 11:08 PM ET
Roy Miki in the foreground, with others assembled at Spartacus Books to hear Miki read on January 31, 2007. (photo from Kootenay School of Writing.)

In addition to his academic and activist work, Roy Miki has been an active member of the Vancouver literary community for many years. Though he was never a member of the Kootenay School of Writing (commonly known as the KSW) Miki and the KSW occupy the same shared history of the west coast's literary world. For example, Roy founded the influential literary journal West Coast Line, which has published many KSW affiliated writers over the years.

The KSW's extensive online audio archives include the following readings from Roy, which you can listen to by accessing the links below to the KSW archives page:

Continue reading to watch a clip about KSW's early years

Smaro Kamboureli on Roy Miki

Monday, May 12, 2008 | 09:04 PM ET
Smaro Kamboureli, Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Critical Studies in Canadian Literature at the School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph (Maria Gilli/Greece)

Smaro Kamboureli will give the keynote address at the closing of the Tracing the Lines Symposium. Here she reflects on Roy Miki's life, work and legacy. Video clips courtesy of CBC Archives.

Roy Miki is one of a handful of Canadians that I know whose life course and career path can be described accurately only by resorting to superlatives. What makes him so exceptional is that he exemplifies what Antonio Gramsci calls an organic intellectual: someone who, rooted in a community and its local struggles, also engages in an equally committed fashion with various institutions and the nation to effect change for society at large. Dr. Miki has done this through cultural and political activism, teaching, scholarship, and poetry.

Whether it is in relation to the Redress movement of Japanese Canadians, the Writing thru Race conference sponsored by the Writers’ Union of Canada, writing and editing in the areas of Canadian literature in general and Asian Canadian literature in particular, or pedagogy inside and outside the classroom, Dr. Miki’s publications, cultural activities and social activism have demonstrated, and have done so over a long span of time, a dedication and commitment to change that are virtually unparalleled.

For example, because of his fundamental belief in justice, especially justice as it pertains to the effects of racialization and racism, Dr. Miki took on two of the most significant struggles about race relations and culture in recent Canadian history whose outcomes have had, and will continue to have, a lasting impact on Canadian society and culture.

Continue reading to see video clips of Roy Miki from CBC's Archives

Tracing the Lines: A Symposium on Contemporary Poetics and Cultural Politics to Honour Roy Miki | May 28 - 31st

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | 12:09 PM ET
(John W. MacDonald,

Roy Miki: Tracing the Lines Symposium

Beginning with a reading by Roy Miki on Wednesday evening, the event consisted of three evening events (May 28, 29, and 31st) and two days of creative/critical panels and presentations addressing the reach of Miki’s work and its literary and social contexts. Topics included contemporary poetics; politics of the imagination; the role of the public intellectual; asiancy; editorial activism; and the history, politics and art of redress.

For more information, please visit the Centre for Innovation in Culture and the Arts in Canada.

Tracing the Lines: A Symposium on Contemporary Poetics and Cultural Politics to Honour Roy Miki | May 28 - 31st

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | 12:00 PM ET
Ashok Mathur

Roy Miki – activist, poet, scholar and teacher – was born in Ste Agathe, Manitoba, on a sugar beet farm where his parents were forcibly located during World War II. Miki grew up in Winnipeg, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba, and then moved to Vancouver where he received his Masters of Arts from SFU and his PhD from UBC. He then taught at SFU’s English Department until he retired in 2007, leaving a legacy of students who he inspired with his conscientiously exemplary pedagogy.

Nationally, Miki is most known for his social and literary work, both of which have earned him considerable distinction. Motivated by the injustice that his family and other Japanese Canadians suffered during internment, Miki was instrumental in the lobbying of the federal government for a Redress Settlement (1988). In 2006, Miki received the 20th annual Gandhi Peace Award for the truth, justice, human rights, and non-violence exemplified in his redress work. Further recognition came with his membership in the Order of Canada (2006) and his Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada (2007).

Meanwhile, issues of identity and injustice reoccur in his non-fiction work, Justice in Our Times (co-authored with Cassandra Kobayashi), Broken Entries, and Redress, as well as his creative poetic work. His book of poetry, Surrender, affirmed Miki’s already acclaimed literary talent when it won the prestigious Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 2002. Miki is also known for his prominent work within the literary community as editor of West Coast Line, author of an annotated bibliography of George Bowering, and editor of two books on poet bpNichol.

The Tracing the Lines Symposium will address the challenges of linking intellectual and political work while imagining spaces of freedom and production.

Watch this space for more information on the symposium and reactions from Roy Miki's community.