Poetry Readings with Brian Brett

Brian Brett, noted across Canada for his powerful readings, has been performing across Canada on tours that began in the 1980s. Please book well in advance. Brian charges the standard Canada Council reading fee (unless in special circumstances), accomodations, and travel. Supplementary funding is available through the Canada Council, The Writers’ Union of Canada, and The League of Canadian Poets. Again, these organizations require booking in advance. Contact the author for details.


Poetry Workshops with Brian Brett

Brian Brett has been giving workshops on poetry, fiction, journalism, non-fiction (including memoir), and performance poetry for almost forty years. These have been sponsored by community centres and festivals. He has also given workshops and taught at Upper Island College. Banff Arts Centre, and the UBC Mfa online program. These workshops can take place on a single day or over a week, or longer if online. Contact the author.


Poetry Workshops in the Schools with Brian Brett

In 1973 Brian Brett created, through the offices of the Burnaby Art Gallery, a program of introducing school children throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia to the literature of aboriginal people around the world, well as historic literature from various cultures: Europe, India, China, Modern America and Latin America, etc., He took this program through the schools on a full-time basis for several years until time commitments forced him to reduce the number of these workshops. Now, once again they are available, not only in the lower mainland, but across Canada, allowing school children to be introduced to material varying from ‘total’ modern translations to documents of the American Museum of Natural History.

The Workshops

Elementary Schools: These have a greater emphasis on entertainment and participation. The program is varied, consisting of translations of Plains Indian teaching tales, Navaho chant systems involving class participation, Quetzal songs, Yoruba hunting calls, authentic recordings of aboriginal and Native Indian material performed by traditional performers, as well as writing exercises for the children in imitation of certain styles such as Ojibway, Inuit, etc., The extent of the material is governed by the length of the classes, or whether the presentations are booked for a single event or as a continuing workshop.

Secondary Schools: These workshops are designed for older children, have a more adult orientation, and deal with some modern, non-aboriginal material illustrating the progressions and parallel paths that have taken place in poetry and the spoken word. It is more comparative, and includes modern Canadian, ancient and modern Chinese, Japanese, French Symbolist, and ‘Beat’ poetry, as well as selections from the aboriginal translations. Once again, the amount of material is governed by the length of the classes and the amount of return visits.

What the Children Say:  (excerpts from letters forwarded by teachers)

“…The story was my favourite. It was most of the classes favourite too. The Houses and Horses was my second favorite. That must be a real challenge to read the words…” Sara Lancaster

“…I really enjoyed the way you read those books. That record that you had was neat. I bet you have written a lot of books…” Temple C. Totten

“…I think you are a great poet. I appreciate the time you put into poetry readings. I’d like to see you again…” Mike Calder

“We all thank you for coming. Come again some time when you are in Cranbrook. And will you send some books to our library?” Deanne McKay