Born in Vancouver, studied
literature at Simon Fraser University from 1969 to 1974. Writing
and publishing since the late 1960s, he has also been involved in an
editorial capacity with several publishing firms such as the
winning Blackfish Press. In the early seventies,
he began working as a free lance journalist and critic for various
publications and newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, The Toronto
Star, The Vancouver Sun, The New Reader, Books In Canada, The Victoria
Times-Colonist, and The Vancouver Province, The Yukon News -- where he
was the poetry
critic for two years, and had his own column. His journalism has
appeared in almost every major newspaper in Canada.
He is currently writing a monthly newspaper column
Brian Brett inaugurated the B.C. Poetry-In-The-Schools program,
introducing children in schools to world poetry for a period of several
years, and has taught or given workshops on writing across Canada . He
has been a member of organizations ranging from P.E.N. International,
The League of Canadian Poets, the B.C. Federation Of Writers, to the
Writer's Union of Canada. While a member of the League of Canadian
Poets he performed a National Reading Tour under their auspices. He has
also given readings on the CBC and various other media as well as
public performances funded by private organizations, universities,
Harbourfront, Vancouver International Writers' Festival, Saltwater
Festival, National Book Festival, and the Canada Council. In May 2005
Brian Brett became the Chair of The Writer's Union of Canada.
Brett currently lives on a farm with his family on Salt Spring Island,
B.C., where he cultivates his garden and creates ceramic forms.
Farm: An unNatural History of Small Farming from Babylon to
Globalization (Memoir / History) Greystone Books, Forthcoming
River Elegies (Poems / Prose Poems) Forthcoming.
Your Only Music (A Memoir in Poetry and Prose Poetry), Exile, 159
pages, Fall 2004
A Mystery (Novel) Thistledown, 426 pages, Fall 2003.
Colour Of Bones In A Stream, Sono Nis, (Poems}, Sono Nis, 88 pages,
of Love and Disaster (Long Poem): Exile, 99 pages, 1993.
New and Selected, Sono Nis, 194 pages, 1993.
(Short Stories), Thistledown, 208 pages, 1991.
Fungus Garden (Novella), Thistledown, 127 pages, 988.
In Every Direction (Prose Poems), Thistledown, 71 pages, 1987.
Without Exit (Poems), Sono Nis, 68 pages, 1984.
Ground At Phantom Creek (Poems), Blackfish, 65 pages, 1976
Directions For The Lost: The Talking Songs of Brian Brett, Tongue
& Groove Records, 14 cuts, Fall 2003
BROADSIDES, BROADSIDE FOLIOS, ETC.,
(Prose Poems/Poems), White Rhino, 1981. Savage People Dressed In Skins
(Long Poem), White Rhino, 1978. Green Light Stones & Trees, (with
Allan Safarik), (Pamphlet), Cold Turkey Press, 1977. The Great Bear
Constellation, (Broadside), 1973. The West Coast, (Broadside Folio),
The Yukon's Great Boreal Wilderness (Coffee Table Book), Harbour
Publishing, 2005. Rendezvous With The Wild (Coffee Table Book)
Mifflin, 2004. The Eye In The Thicket (Natural History Essays)
Thistledown Books 2002. Mocambo Nights, ed. by Patrick Lane,
Editions, 2001. Lost Classics ed. by Ondaatje, Spalding,
(Essays) Anchor Classics, 2001. In The Clear (Fiction &
Thistledown Books, 1998. What is Already Known (Fiction &
Thistledown Books, 1995. How I Learned To Speak Dog (Poetry
Prose) Douglas & McIntyre. Witness To Wilderness (Poetry
Prose), Arsenal Pulp Press, 1994. Because You Loved Being A Stranger,
(Poems) ed. by Susan Musgrave, Harbour Publishing, 1994. Myths
Voices (Short Stories), White Pine Press, U.S.A.,1993. The Last
The Heart (Short Stories), Thistledown Books, 1989. 15 Years In
Exile, 1992. Vancouver Poetry (Poetry), Polestar Press, 1986. For
Rexroth (Poetry), The Ark , 1980. Western Windows (Poetry
Commcept Publishing Ltd., 1977. A Government Job At Last
MacLeod Books, 1977.
Rain, Quarry, White Pelican, Sound Heritage, Pulp, Tractor, West Coast
Review, Inscape, Poetry Canada Review, Literary Storefront Newsletter,
CVII, Dandelion, Western Living, The New Quarterly, Highway One, Brick,
Exile, Equinox, Small Farm, The Rain, etc., Several hundred newspaper
articles too numerous
to identify individually.
AWARDS, GRANTS, OFFICES, UNDERTAKINGS, ETC.,
Canada Council Grants. Short Term Canada Council Writer In Residence,
Fraser Valley Regional Library - 1987. Writer's Quarterly Annual Story
Competition, Runner-up - 1988. The Writer's Union of Canada, B.C.
Representative, Float, and Second Vice-Chair, First Vice-Chair - Chair
for 2005/2006. Producer of poetry events at Vancouver International
Writer's Festival - Fall 1991, 2005. Several B.C. Cultural Branch
Writing Awards. Literary consultant for Salt Spring Summer Festival -
1991-1998, Writer In Electronic Residence, Writer's Development Trust -
Winter 1992. Short listed for 1993.B.C. Book Prize. Poetry. Co-producer
of the internationally televised Great Clayoquot Sound Writers' Benefit
- November 1993. Co-producer of the Theatre Alive! Annual Erotic
Literary Evening & Benefit, 1995-1998. Master of Ceremonies at the
Vancouver International Writers' Festival bill bissett tribyoot - 1997.
Writer-in-residence, Yukon Public Library System - Winter 1998.
Writer's Development Trust - Writer-In-Electronic Residence -
Spring 1998, Instructor at Victoria School of Writing - July 2002.
Instructor at Malaspina University - Spring 2005. Part Time Instructor
at UBC Department of Creative Writing – Internet MFA program -
Fiction: A Teaching Resource, Jesse Stothers, Thistledown Press
SELECTIONS FROM REVIEWS:
"Against the full spectrum of poetic response to nature, Brett's own
work measures up well. He chants, searches, and hungers for an
understanding of man's relationship to natural disorder... his work can
sing... Fossil Ground At Phantom Creek is an admirable body of work."
PACIFIC NORWEST REVIEW
"Brian Brett's Monster is subtitled "An Autobiography." Using the idea
of the self as monster, Brett's pure poems appear to mythologize his
life, fusing it with the life of the race: the monster he discovers is
both man and god and animal and thing." CANADIAN LITERATURE
"Brian Brett is a powerful writer and there's plenty of adventure,
exciting descriptions and fantasy here [The Fungus Garden]. " THE WHIG
"Brett's poetic language and imagery propel us full-force toward the
sad denouement of this short novel [The Fungus Garden]. Along the way
we are treated to a richly textured fable of life and death among the
termites. It is a truly voracious experience." THE VANCOUVER SUN
"Smoke Without Exit is an unusual book of poetry. The poems are so well
structured that the reader is caught, held, and forced to experience
the violence of the night...."RUBICON
"[Smoke Without Exit]... a forced march through the rain
"The forty-five prose poems in this collection [Evolution In Every
Direction] won't disappoint readers attracted by the book's striking
cover, which uses the author's own photograph of a cactus flower...
Public library patrons will find Brett a fresh voice in the Canadian
poetry section." CANADIAN MATERIALS
"[The Fungus] Garden joins its descriptive and narrative strands in a
weft that disturbs as it dazzles. A good acquisition for graduate,
undergraduate, and public libraries with contemporary fiction."CHOICE
"Brett writes with a poet's flair for drama [The Fungus Garden]."
"Brett assembles his surreal tale [The Fungus Garden] with considerable
ingenuity. His details of hive life are inventive: there is much
gruesome action and striking scenery." BOOKS IN REVIEW
"Actually, The Fungus Garden is so compelling that one simply wants to
keep on reading. Its original storyline almost demands a sequel. What
will Brett think up next?" THE TORONTO STAR
"Brett's specialty is finding the unusual among the commonplace." THE
"With inventive settings, lyrical descriptions and sophisticated use of
dream imagery, Brett has created [Tanganyika] a myriad of complex
worlds to perplex and stimulate the reader." THE VANCOUVER SUN
"Most poets who are neglected are rightfully neglected, but Brian
Brett's poetry you pass over to your own loss. If you have not read at
least some of these poems, you cannot have understood." JOHN NEWLOVE
"Brett's poetry transforms us with its richness and its passion. He is
metamorphic, whether he writes of the intimacy of his lovers and
friends or of the spiritual world of the land around him. He has
changed us for twenty years and those changes, sometimes troubling,
sometimes sweet, have always left us asking for more." PATRICK LANE
" With Coyote, Saltspring Island poet Brian Brett pulls the wings off a
few genre cliches in one of those rare, hypnotically compelling novels
that keeps the reader turning just one more page until the dawn-song of
birds warns it's already a long tired day." JOHN MOORE, THE VANCOUVER
"With his new novel, Saltspring Island poet and novelist Brian Brett
has created a postmodern, Gulf Island-based, Buddhism-infused,
eco-psycho-killer thriller. Coyote is at once leisurely paced and
thrilling, thought-provoking and humorous, character-focussed and
intellectually challenging. ROBERT J. WIERSEMA, QUILL & QUIRE, 2003
"The most exciting Canadian book I've read all year is Brian Brett's
memoir and new poems, Uproar's Your Only Music (a phrase from Keats),
just published. These 160 pages – which begin "My grandmother was
a flower girl in Piccadilly – are distilled from 50 years of an
extraordinary, hard and brilliant life….Written with the charm
and intensity of all Brian Brett's finest work, the prose and verse
halves of Uproar form a diptych of outstanding power and beauty.
RONALD WRIGHT. GLOBE AND MAIL - BOOKS OF THE YEAR.