STEVENSON, Richard




Author Tags: Music, Poetry

Born in Victoria in 1952, Richard Stevenson received a B.A. and teacher's certification from UVic and an MFA from UBC prior to teaching for two years in Nigeria. That experience resulted in a series of exploration in poetry of Africa viewed from without and from within; Driving Offensively (Sono Nis), Horizontal Hotel: A Nigerian Odyssey (TSAR publications) and Flying Coffins (Ekstasis). His lyrics and serial monologues in Learning to Breathe (Ekstasis, 1992) explore themes of masculinity and violence. His extended poem sequence on the life and works of Miles Davis is Bebop to Funk: A Miles Davis Tribute (Thistledown, 2000). In addition to various chapbooks such as Hierarchy at the Feeder (Pierian Press, 1984) and Twelve Houseplants (Pierian Press/Dollarpoems Series, 1985), he has published Why Were All the Werewolves Men? (Thistledown, 1994) and A Murder of Crows: New and Selected Poems (Black Moss, 1998). He has taught Canadian Literature, Creative Writing, and Business Communication at Lethbridge Community College in Lethbridge, Alberta and he has performed occasionally with Naked Ear, doing a Miles Davis tribute show, and with Sasquatch, doing light verse for middle grade schoolchildren. He returned to live on Vancouver Island, in Nanaimo, in 2015.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Driving Offensively (Sono Nis Press, 1985) ISBN 0-919203-56-6.
Suiting Up ( Third Eye Publications, 1986)
Horizontal Hotel: A Nigerian Odyssey (TSAR Publications, 1989)
Whatever It Is Plants Dream ... (Goose Lane Editions, 1990) ISBN 2: 0-86492-122-5.
Learning To Breathe (Cacanadadada (now Ronsdale ) Press, 1992) ISBN 0-921870-11-6.
From The Mouths of Angels (Ekstasis Editions, 1993) ISBN 0-921215-65-7.
Flying Coffins (Ekstasis Editions, 1994) ISBN 0-921215-73-8.
Why Were All The Werewolves Men? Thistledown Press, 1994) ISBN 6: 1-895449-30-8.
A Murder of Crows: New & Selected Poems (Black Moss Press, 1998) ISBN 0-88753-317-5.
Nothing Definite Yeti (Ekstasis Editions, 1999) ISBN 1-896869-54-0.
Live Evil: A Homage To Miles Davis (Thistledown Press, 2000) ISBN 1-894345-08-8.
Hot Flashes: Maiduguri Haiku, Senryu, & Tanka (Ekstasis Editions, 2001) ISBN 1-896860-96-6.
Parrot with Tourette's (Black Moss Press, 2004). 0-88753-398-1
A Charm of Finches (Ekstasis, 2004)
A Dog Named Normal (Ekstasis 2014) $23.95 9781771710053

AWARDS:

Norma Epstein Award for Creative Writing (co-winner), 1983.
Stephen G. Stephansson Award, 1994.
ACIFA Excellence in Promoting Student Learning Award, 1996.
Literary Rose Award, 1997.
Second Prize, Sketches of Miles Contest, 2001.

[BCBW 2003] "Poetry" "Music"

Biography - Lethbridge Insider
background info



"As a child he had the chance to grow up in Saanich, British Columbia, where he had the best of both worlds: a rural setting that was close to the city. The rural setting gave Stevenson a chance to explore and develop his imagination. Once during his exploration, he and his friends came upon a sword. They were smart enough to take it to a museum and eventually found out that it was part of Captain Cook’s expedition. Stevenson’s inquisitive nature he quickly discovered was really about words; words used to describe, words used to explain.

"Stevenson may have become a biologist had it not been for a few timely influences in his life. Stevenson’s Grade 10 teacher, who he describes as “off the wall,” was his first. This teacher got the class interested in protest music of the era like “Sky Pilots” by the Animals and bands like Country Joe and the Fish. More importantly, this influential teacher introduced Stevenson to anti-war poets like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Stevenson also credits the liberal education he received during Grade 12, or “12X” as it was called. In this program, students were allowed to study whatever field they were interested in. During this time, Rick also wrote for the school paper and wrote song lyrics for his locker partner, who happened to be a musician.

"This set the tone for Rick’s post-secondary experience, which happened at his hometown University of Victoria. It was there that he first met Robert Sward, a professor who introduced to his students ideas like Zen, meditation, and Buddhism. To this date, Stevenson remains friends with Sward and considers him one of his mentors. During his time at UVIC, Stevenson was influenced by the work of Robin Skelton, Susan Musgrave, Sylvia Plath, and Eugene McNamara.

"Post graduation, Rick Stevenson found himself with the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to go to Africa and teach. While in Africa, Stevenson was inspired to write about Neo-Colonialism – something that was a fresh new topic; a topic that was getting him noticed. Upon returning to Canada, Stevenson attended UBC for his graduate studies and began work with Prism International magazine. Because of his Africa experience, Stevenson became Editor in Chief of Prism.

"As Stevenson completed his graduate work, his thesis, Driving Offensively, was awarded the Norma Epstein Award. Being in the West Coast scene helped get Driving Offensively published. A friend and “guru” J. Michael Yates suggested Rick try Sono Nis Press as his ex-wife worked there (not to mention, Yates founded it). Yates at the time was head of the UBC writing department and was a champion of young Canadian writers. Stevenson credits Yates with helping him get into the League of Canadian Poets as well as general inspiration. Driving Offensively was published by Sono Nis and won rave reviews."