Produced in partnership with The Capilano Review, Dear Friends & is a monthly series showcasing the work of local and touring Canadian writers. Taking place on the first Thursday of each month, readings are hosted in the Grand Luxe Hall and made available to virtual audiences by livestream.
The series’ name draws inspiration from the salutations and sign-offs used by Roy Kiyooka in Transcanada Letters (1975), a collection which details the comings and goings of his literary sociality across Canada, the network of people and relations that enfold his writing, and the longings of his “Heart’s Geography” to be near the ones he loved. Kiyooka was an important figure for both Western Front and The Capilano Review, and this series invites his spirit of kinship, connection, and conviviality into the reading space.
The first event of the series featured readings by Billy-Ray Belcourt, Brandi Bird, and beni xiao. Each writer presented twenty-minute sets that included new work and selections from published texts.
Following a short introduction to the series by way of a recorded video from Deanna Fong, literary editor of The Capilano Review, the evening began with a reading by Bird that included excerpts from their forthcoming debut poetry collection The All + Flesh (2023). Xiao read work that included poems published in Queer Little Nightmares: An Anthology of Monstrous Fiction and Poetry (2022) and “Bad Feelings,” the Spring 2023 issue of The Capilano Review. Belcourt closed the evening with a new suite of poems titled The Cruising Utopia Sonnets and excerpts from his debut novel A Minor Chorus (2022).
The readings unfolded against a projected image by resident artist Christian Vistan, who was invited to inhabit the peripheral spaces of Dear Friends & through a series of conceptual graphics, backgrounds, interventions, and ephemera reflecting on themes of friendship and correspondence through art.
The evening was hosted by Jacquelyn Zong-Li Ross, art editor of The Capilano Review; and Kiel Torres, content writer & editor at Western Front.
Presented with support from Kootenay School of Writing.