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U of C welcomes new Writer-in-Residence

By Emilie Medland-Marchen, September 10 2015 —

Every school year, an emerging Canadian writer is offered a residence at the University of Calgary as part of the school’s Writer-in-Residence program. This year, the U of C is bringing in poet Nick Thran in collaboration with the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program.

As Writer-in-Residence, Thran is tasked with assisting Calgary’s writing community with manuscript reviews while also presenting his own ideas about the creative process. Thran plans to use his year at the U of C to write a book of essays while continuing work on his poetry.

Thran’s work is characterized by a vibrant spontaneity that provides readers with commentary on pop culture and degradation. His most recent collection of poetry, Earworm, won the Trillium Book Award for Canadian poetry. Thran’s poetry moves at a fast pace, capturing the reader’s attention and drawing them in from multiple directions.

“I think that my own poetry and the way that I write does sort of work laterally and associatively,” Thran says. “I jump from subject to subject sideways a lot and sort of amass things. I write about popular culture a lot, but I don’t see technology as an enemy to poetry, nor do I see it as the ushering of a new kind of poetry.”

Thran’s approach to writing poetry is not constrained by an overarching narrative or theme. Instead, he says his writing is more free-flowing.

“I feel poetry comes up on a more case-by-case basis. It’s different than writing a novel or a book of non-fiction,” Thran says. “For me, a poem sort of happens on its own.”

Thran will unveil a new collection of poetry at the annual Hello/Goodbye event at the Arrata Opera Centre. The event will feature readings from Thran and last year’s Writer-in-Residence, Ian Williams. Thran plans to read selections from his newest collection, which will be the first time he has publicly revealed this new material.

Thran’s work has also been printed in publications like The Walrus. He has also performed at the Calgary Wordfest Festival.

As the U of C Writer-in-Residence, Thran will meet with students on campus who aspire to write poetry and prose. Appointments can be scheduled via email, and Thran says he’s always welcome to students presenting their work. He’s enthusiastic about meeting some members of the university’s writing community.

“We’re available, we’re here,” Thran says. “We situate ourselves here, and we do our best to let people know that we are available. It’s up to students to open their desk drawers, dig out their stories and poems and send that email to schedule an appointment. I’m very hopeful that many people will do that.”

You can hear Nick Thran and Ian Williams at the Writer-in-Residence Hello/Goodbye. The event takes place at the Arrata Opera Centre in Calgary Thursday, September 10th at 7:30 pm. The evening is free and will be followed by a reception.

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