Chris Lee of the UBC English Department is heading up the call for poems to help recognize the Anniversaries of Change project that is drawing attention to significant events in Asian Canadian history from 1907, 1947, 1967 and 1997.  The catalyst for these historic events is the 100th anniversary of the September 8th, Chinatown Riots by the Anti-Asiatic League.

Vancouver has come a long way from a small pioneer town on the edge of civilization, to become a bustling global city that celebrates ethnic and cultural diversity that no other city in Canada can match.  Vancouver was one of the entry points for Asian immigration to Canada, and thus was also a lightning rod for Anti-Asian or anti-immigration sentiment.

A call for poetry to celebrate the historic event, and to recognize how far we have come, is a worthy project that will help bring contemporary insight to historical hindsight, combined with artistic creativity.  Okay… I admit… I had a hand  (or rather some brain cells) in helping to spark this creative project.  Hope you can help out… write a poem… tell you poet friends…


Anniversaries of Change is a broad-based coalition of
institutions and
organizations that have come together to mark 2007 as
an anniversary year in
the quest for equality and justice in
The years 1907, 1947, 1967, and 1997 each mark a watershed moment
the history of Asian migrants in Canada and their struggles to
discrimination and oppression. These anniversaries not only call for
historical reflection, but also offer
opportunities to renew ongoing
efforts in anti-racism.

On September 8,
2007, there will be an all-day public event at the
Vancouver Public Library
Central Branch that will include panels,
displays, multimedia, and performing
arts. We are currently soliciting
short poems (maximum 20 lines) from local
writers addressing the
themes of this year of anniversaries. Please note:
Writers do not have
be of Asian descent and submissions do not have to
directly address
the historical events being commemorated. We are seeking
entries that
can, in conjunction with other community events, creatively
reflection on the current state of diversity and justice in
and British Columbia.

Seven poems will be chosen and circulated in the following
ways: (1)
large wall-size posters of each poem will be produced and displayed
the VPL atrium on September 8; (2) smaller posters with all seven
poems will be printed and widely distributed as
part of commemorative
activities in the fall. We will extend a token
honorarium to each
writer chosen to participate in Seven for '07.

Please email entries to by August 9,
Please attach entries in either .pdf or .rtf formats and ensure
no identifying notes or markers are included in the file. In the
of the email, please provide the following information: name,
telephone number, contact email, and a short (maximum 40 words)
statement. After a blind review process, chosen writers
will be contacted in
order to arrange publication details.

For more information about Seven for '
please contact Chris Lee (UBC
Department of
English) at More
about the Anniversaries of Change can be found on
Thank you for your interest!

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