Born in Nelson in 1937, digital poetics pioneer Lionel Kearns pursued a career in hockey before he moved to Vancouver to work on CPR trains and enrol at UBC where he became associated with the TISH poetry newsletter in the early 1960s. His writing teachers included Earle Birney, Warren Tallman, Elliott Gose, Ron Baker, Jake Zilber and Dorothy Somerset. He accepted his first teaching position at SFU in 1963, the year he published his first poetry collection, Songs of Circumstance. Kearns moved to England in 1964 to study structural linguistics in the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. After a year in Trinidad, he returned to teach in the English department of Simon Fraser University from 1966 to 1986. He took one year off during that period to be writer-in-residence at Concordia University in Montreal from 1981-1982. He has the distinction of the being the first 'Writer-in-Electronic Residence' for the Wired Writers project in Canadian schools, as well as being the only British Columbian to have played a game of baseball with Fidel Castro in Cuba during the 1960s. [See below]

In 1986 Kearns stopped teaching English at Simon Fraser University and has taught an online computer-mediated graduate course entitled "The Cybernetics of Poetry" for ConnectEd, the on-line facility of the New School for Social Research, New York.

Critical response to Kearns' writing include:

George Bowering. "Metaphysic in Time: The Poetry of Lionel Kearns", in A Way With Words. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1983, pp. 101-120.
L. Moyse. "Dialoguing the Monologue of History and Lyric: Lionel Kearns' Convergences" in Open Letter (Summer 1989), pp. 15-27.
G. Williams. "Reading Against Consumption: Metafiction in Lionel Kearns' Convergences" in Canadian Poetry (Spring, 1991) pp. 40-53.
Manina Jones. "Log Entries for Lionel Kearns" in Beyond Tish. NewWest Press 1991. pp. 222-234.


Songs of Circumstance (Vancouver: Tish Press, 1963)
Listen George (Montreal: Imago Press, 1965)
Pointing (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1967)
By the Light of the Silvery McLune: Media Parables, Poems, Signs, Gestures, and Other Assaults on the Interface (Vancouver: Daylight Press, 1969)
The Birth of God (cine-poem, 16mm., sound, 3 1/2 min.) with Gordon Payne, 1973
About Time (Prince George: Caledonia Press, 1974)
Negotiating a New Canadian Constitution (cine-poem, 16mm., sound, 3 1/2 min.), with Gordon Payne. (National Film Board of Canada, 1974)
Practicing Up to be Human (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1978)
Ignoring the Bomb: New and Selected Poems (Lantzville: Oolichan Press, 1982)
Convergences (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1984).
A Few Words Will Do (Talonbooks, 2007)

[BCBW 2007] "Poetry"