Co-sponsors of North of Invention include: the Canada Council for the Arts, the University Research Fund, the Provost's Interdisciplinary Arts Fund, Asian American Studies, the Working Group in Poetics, Poets House, and Writers Without Borders.


Sarah Dowling is the author of Security Posture, winner of the 2009 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Capilano Review, Cue, Dusie, EOAGH, How2, the ixnay reader, and West Coast Line. She received an M.A. in Creative Writing from Temple University, and is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is originally from Regina, Saskatchewan.

Charles Bernstein is the author of 40 books, ranging from large-scale collections of poetry and essays to pamphlets, libretti, translations, and collaborations, most recently All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems (2010) from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania; co-founder and co-editor, with Al Filreis, of PENNsound; and editor, and co-founder, with Loss Pequenno Glazier, of the Electronic Poetry Center. He is co-editor, with Hank Lazer, of Modern and Contemporary Poetics, a book series from the University of Alabama Press (1998- ). He has been host and co-producer of LINEbreak and Close Listening, two radio poetry series.

North of Invention: A Canadian Poetry Festival

a. rawlings • fred wah • christian bök • m. nourbese philip • stephen collis • nicole brossard • jeff derksen • jordan scott • adeena karasick • lisa robertson

North of Invention presents 10 Canadian poets working at the cutting edge of contemporary poetic practice, bringing them first to the Kelly Writers House, then to Poets House in New York City for two days of readings, presentations and discussion in each location. Celebrating the breadth and complexity of poetic experimentation in Canada, North of Invention features emerging and established poets working across multiple traditions, and represents nearly fifty years of experimental writing. North of Invention aims to initiate a new dialogue in North American poetics, addressing the hotly debated areas of "innovation" and "conceptual writing," the history of sound poetry and contemporary performance, multilingualism and translation, and connections to activism.


Thursday, January 20: Kelly Writers House, Philadelphia

Friday, January 21: Kelly Writers House, Philadelphia

Saturday, January 22: Poets House, New York City

Sunday, January 23: Poets House, New York City

All Penn event free and open to the public. For Poets House: $10, $7 for students and seniors, free to members


Poet, arts educator, and interdisciplinarian a.rawlings has presented and published work throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. Her first book, Wide slumber for lepidopterists (Coach House Books, 2006), received an Alcuin Award for Design and was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award; the book is currently being translated into French. As the recipient of a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, angela spent 2009 and 2010 in Belgium, Canada, and Iceland working on her next manuscripts, researching sound/text/movement with special emphasis on vocal and contact improvisation, and collaborating with local artists. angela's current collaborators are experiential theatre company bluemouth inc., Belgian artist Maja Jantar, Canadian musician Nilan Perera, and Canadian dancer Julie Lassonde.

Adeena Karasick is a poet, media-artist and the award-winning author of seven books of poetry and poetic theory, Amuse Bouche: Tasty Treats for the Mouth (2009), The House That Hijack Built (2004). The Arugula Fugues (2001), Dyssemia Sleaze (2000), Genrecide (1996), Mêmewars (1994), and The Empress Has No Closure (1992). Marked with an urban, Jewish, feminist aesthetic that continually challenges normative modes of meaning production, and engaged with the art of combination and turbulence of thought, her work is a testament to the creative and regenerative power of language and its infinite possibilities for pushing meaning to the limits of its semantic boundaries. Karasick has lectured and performed worldwide and regularly publishes articles, reviews and dialogues on contemporary poetry, poetics and cultural/semiotic theory. She is Professor of Global Literature at St. John's University in New York.

Fred Wah is a poet and scholar whose editorial involvement in magazines such as TISH, Open Letter, and West Coast Line has had a profoundly shaped Canadian writing for nearly five decades. He has published seventeen books of poetry, including Waiting For Saskatchewan, recipient of the Governor-General's Award in 1986, and So Far, which was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry in 1992. Diamond Grill, a biofiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian cafe was published in 1996 and won the Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Fiction. A collection of critical writing, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity (2000) was awarded the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Writing on Canadian literature.

Jeff Derksen is a founding member of Vancouver's Kootenay School of Writing and was an editor of the influential magazine Writing. He is the author of numerous books of poetry including Transnational Muscle Cars (2003), Dwell (1993), and Down Time (1990), winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. His areas of academic interest are national cultures and the role of the state in the era of globalization; cultural imperialism and the politics of aesthetics; the poetry and poetics of globalized cities; the emergent global cultural front (in a general cultural context and in avant-gardes); culture and gentrification in global-urban spaces; architecture and urbanism; cultural poetics, cultural studies, & cultural geography.

Jordan Scott is the author of Silt (New Star Books 2005) which was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and Blert (Coach House Books 2008). Blert, which explores the poetics of stuttering, was adapted into a short film for the Bravo Network and was the subject of an online interactive documentary commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada. Jordan acted as writer in residence at the International Writers' and Translators' Centre in Rhodes, Greece and has lectured and performed at festivals in Norway and Slovenia. His areas of poetic inquiry are speech disfluencies, interrogation, found archives and decompositions. Jordan is a member of the Kootenay School of Writing and lives in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver BC.

Lisa Robertson was born in Toronto and lived for many years in Vancouver, where she worked with several artist-run organizations, including Kootenay School of Writing and Artspeak Gallery. Her first book, XEclogue, was published in 1993 by Tsunami Editions; Debbie: An Epic, and The Weather followed, from New Star (both co-published by Reality Street in the UK); then The Men (Bookthug, 2006) and Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip (Coach House 2009). R's Boat was published by University of California Press in Spring 2010. A book of essays, Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture, was published by Clearcut (USA, 2003) and Coach House (2006, 2010). She has been the recipient of the Relit Award and the bpNichol Chapbook Award, and was nominated for a Governor General's Award for Poetry in 1998. She has worked as an editor of poetry, a freelance arts and architectural critic, and a teacher, since leaving the bookselling business in 1995, and has taught and held residencies at California College of the Arts, University of Cambridge, Capilano College, University of California Berkeley, University of California San Diego, American University of Paris and the Naropa Institute. During Fall 2010 she is writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University. She is currently working collaboratively on translation, sound and video-based projects.

M. NourbeSe Philip is a poet, writer, and lawyer who lives in the City of Toronto. She was born in Tobago and now lives in Canada. She is the author of She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1988), Looking for Livingstone: An Odyssey of Silence (1991), Frontiers: Essays and Writings on Racism and Culture (1992), A Genealogy of Resistance and Other Essays (1997), Coups and Calypsos (2001), and many other works. Her most recent book, Zong! (2008), uses only language taken from the Gregson v. Gilbert decision, a 1783 legal case resulting from the deliberate drowning of 150 slaves. Among her many accolades, Philip is the winner of the Casa de las Americas Prize, the Tradewinds Collective Prize, the Lawrence Foundation Award, the Toronto Arts Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Poet, novelist and essayist, Nicole Brossard has published more than thirty books since 1965. Many of her books have been translated into English: Mauve Desert, The Aerial Letter, Picture Theory, Lovhers, Baroque at Dawn, The Blue Books, Installations, Museum of Bone and Water and more recently Intimate Journal, Fluid Arguments, Yesterday at the Hotel Clarendon and Notebook of roses and civilization, which was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize (2008). She cofounded and codirected the avant-garde literary magazine La Barre du Jour (1965-1975), codirected the film Some American Feminists (1976) and coedited the acclaimed Anthologie de la poésie des femmes au Québec (1991, 2003). Her most recent books in English are Fences in Breathing, Mobility of Light (an anthology of her poetry edited by Louise Forsyth), and Selections : the poetry of Nicole Brossard (2009). Nicole Brossard has twice won the Governor General's Award for her poetry, and was the winner of le Grand Prix de Poésie du Festival international de Trois-Rivières in 1989 and in 1999. In 1991 she was awarded le Prix Athanase-David, the highest literary recognition in Québec. She is a member of l?Académie des lettres du Québec, and won the W.O. Mitchell 2003 Prize and the Canada Council of Arts Molson Prize in 2006. Her work has influenced a whole generation and has been translated widely into English and Spanish and is also available in German, Italian, Japanese, Slovenian, Romanian, Catalan and others languages. Nicole Brossard writes and lives in Montréal.

Christian Bök is the author or Eunoia,Crystallography, and 'Pataphysics: the Poetics of an Imaginary Science. Eunoia won the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize and is the best-selling Canadian poetry book of all time. Bök has created artificial languages for Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict and Peter Benchley's Amazon. His conceptual artwork has appeared at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York City as part of the exhibit "Poetry Plastique." He currently teaches at the University of Calgary. Extensive recordings available on PennSound.

Stephen Collis is the author of Mine (2001); two parts of the on-going Barricades Project, Anarchive (2005) and The Commons (2008); and On the Material (2010). He is also the author of two books of criticism: Through Words of Others: Susan Howe and Anarcho-Scholasticism (2006) and Phyllis Webb and the Common Good (2007). A long-standing member of the Kootenay School of Writing, he teaches poetry, poetics and American literature at Simon Fraser University. Collis is noted for his astute analyses of the affinities between contemporary poets, and has lectured widely on the subject.

Maja Jantar is a multilingual and polysonic voice artist living in Ghent, Belgium, whose work spans the fields of performance, music theatre, poetry and visual arts. A co-founder of the group Krikri, she has been giving individual and collaborative performances throughout Europe and experimenting with poetic sound works since 1995. Jantar has directed ten operas, including Monteverdi's classic Incoronatione di Poppea and Sciarrino's contemporary Infinito Nero. Recently, she performed with Vincent Tholomé and Sebastien Dicenaire at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Her visual poetry has appeared in various publications, amongst others Zieteratuur (Netherlands), and her visual work has been shown in several exhibits; an ink-and-paper selection from her "Lilith" series was recently shown at Kunsttempel Kassel (Germany). In the near future she will continue collaborating extensively with Canadian poet and interdisciplinarian a.rawlings, and will publish a CD and art book of her visual and audio work with Hybriden Verlag in Berlin. Maja Jantar is attending North of Invention in her capacity as a.rawlings's collaborator.