SIMMERS, Bren




Author Tags: Poetry

Bren Simmers' book-length poem Hastings-Sunrise (Nightwood 2015) is a tribute to the neighbourhood of Vancouver in which she lived from 2010-2013. It reflects her attempts to find home in a city where she couldn’t afford to own one. Borrowing from phenology, she tracked seasonal and cultural changes from one spring to the next. "These observations allowed me to me to develop other markers of home," she says, "the rhythms of street trees and Christmas lights, the people we pass everyday, and favourite neighbourhood routes." She subsequently left Hastings-Sunrise in favour of the natural, wooded environment of the Squamish area. Hastings-Sunrise was shortlisted for the 2015 City of Vancouver Book Award.

Between 2004 and 2015, more than 10,000 demolition permits were issued for residential buildings in the city of Vancouver. As of 2015, an average of three houses a day were being torn down, many of them original homes built for the middle and working class in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Very few are deemed significant enough to merit heritage protection, but Caroline Adderson and other Vancouver writers believed the demoliton of these dwellings amounted to an architectural loss. She therefore spearheaded Vancouver Vanishes: Narratives of Demolition and Revival (Anvil 2015), co-authored with John Atkin, Kerry Gold, Evelyn Lau, Eve Lazarus, John Mackie, Elise & Stephen Partridge and Bren Simmers. The introduction is by heritage artist and activist Michael Kluckner--who has published a book called Vanishing Vancouver--and photographs are by Tracey Ayton and Adderson.

Bren Simmers of Squamish has won an Arc Poetry Magazine Poem of the Year Award, she has been a finalist for The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize and she has been twice longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. Her work has been anthologized in Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest (Ooligan, 2013).

BOOKS:

Hastings-Sunrise (Gibsons: Nightwood Editions, 2015) $18.95 978-0-88971-310-9
Night Gears (Hamilton: Wolsak and Wynn, 2010)

[BCBW 2015]