Writing and Risk: Looking Ahead at the 2018 Gustafson Lecture

Next week on November 7th and 8th, VIU will welcome award-winning poet Lorna Crozier to campus as the 2018 Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet. She’ll be presenting a lecture and reading/Q&A for students, as well as a public reading at White Sails Brewery.

In her lecture, she’ll be talking about writing and the risks we take whenever we put pen to paper. Whether it’s a poem, a piece of short fiction, or even a film script, there’s no doubt that it takes serious guts to allow readers – strangers – to be an audience for our deepest thoughts and emotions. We’re opening the window to judgement. For some it’ll resonate, and others it won’t.

I’m looking forward to hearing what Ms Crozier has to say on the top. As a Creative Writing student, I have always been aware of this risk. I still struggle giving feedback in workshops, even in my third year, because I know how much of my own personal life trickles into my writing, and what if the same is true for my classmates?

Poetry is such a personal form of writing, so I try my best to be as gentle yet constructive as possible. I would never want to make an author feel like his/her feelings or experiences are invalid. It’s easy to feel personally attacked.

I would encourage all students and writers to attend Ms Crozier’s lecture and readings. On Wednesday, November 7th, she will be presenting her reading and Q&A at the Nanaimo campus from 2:30-4, in Building 355 room 211.

That night she will also be doing a public reading at White Sails from 7:30-8:30pm, with our very own Aislinn Cottell.

Her lecture is the following day on Thursday, November 8th at 7pm, in Building 355 room 203.

Ms Crozier’s poetry is an inspiring example for any aspiring writer/poet. It is powerful and shows a fierce bravery that I can only hope to achieve one day. The topics of her poems range from the beauty in everyday things (The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things) to female desires (What the Living Won’t Let Go) publishing at a time where women weren’t really given a voice.

Keep a look out for our interview with Ms Crozier in the 2019 issue of Portal.

– Erinn Sturgeon, Poetry Editor and Gustafson Interviewer