CHARLOTTETOWN – The Winter’s Tales Authors Reading Series presents a public reading and presentation from Liz Howard on March 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Faculty Lounge of UPEI’s SDU Main Building.
Howard, of Anishinaabe descent, grew up in Northern Ontario surrounded by wilderness. Her life path took her south to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto. After graduation, she enrolled in her first poetry course and began writing poetry seriously, and her path branched into two intertwined tracks.
One led to her research career in cognitive neuroscience and psychology at the University of Toronto. On the other, she earned a master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Guelph.
In 2016, she became the youngest winner of the prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize for her first collection, “Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent,” also a 2015 finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry.
Howard weaves her Northern Ontario upbringing into her poetry.
“I always joke that people are including their dogs in the census. Almost everyone knows each other. It’s very isolated... right at the start of the Arctic watershed. We’re so small, we don’t have a Tim Horton’s,” she says of her hometown of Timmins.
Faithful to her landscape and community, she includes in her poetry not only forests and marshlands, fields and rivers, but also lumber mills, tailing ponds, and logging trucks rumbling the foundations of houses.
The realms of science also permeate her poetry. “I’ve studied neuro-anatomy and neuroscience and physiology and psychopathology, so those are the realms that I draw from. This is the language and the ideas and the frameworks that I spent so much time trying to wrap my head around.”
Her poetry and life-work will resonate with Islanders — with close communities surrounded by the wilderness of ocean — and with communities of scientists and artists whose lives often intersect, including at our numerous Tim Horton’s.
Howard’s reading is co-sponsored by the UPEI English Department and the Mawi’omi Aboriginal Student Centre.