Born in Toronto on January, 25, 1948, Ian Rudkin, a musician who played the violin and piano, grew up in Nanaimo where he discovered Dickens at age twelve and was greatly influenced by his high school teacher, Jack Hodgins. "At fifteen, we were reading Faulkner and Dylan Thomas," he recalled. "Jack is a wonderful teacher." Later, at UBC, he did more writing than reading, encouraged and inspired by professors such as Roy Daniells and Craig Miller. Determined to pursue his love of literature, he simultaneously played piano in "a Vancouver hippie restaurant."

"Emotionally my twenties were like being at sea," he wrote. "However, I met some kind and solid men and women from whom I learned to skipper my craft."

A resident of Vancouver since 1971, he became the author of numerous self-published chapbooks of poetry, mostly since 2000. He first collection appeared in 1994. In 'Contributing As an Artist,' from The Roots of Affection, he wrote: "You are free to contribute to society but you don't determine what the other members do with your contributions upon first seeing them. You determine what you do and how you do it and your enjoyment of it. That is the nature of ability. In your work you create original statements that can be enjoyed for themselves. You don't need a lot of applause as a person. You don't determine what other people do but telling does good."

Rudkin's poems are generally concise, compassionate, humour-tinged and philosophical. In Touching Tells and Learns, he offers an aphorism as a poem: "Growing up is when you've stopped trying to change your parents."

Rudkin's gentle and philosophical attitudes don't simply permeate his poetry; they radically affected his life. In 2008, he wrote, "Kindly but unwisely, two years ago I started helping our homeless people. I've given them $45,000. Some people in the community thought I was foolish and I was put in a hospital last May. Since then my freedom has been restricted by the B.C. Public Guardian and Trustee Office. The problem is that I am of a communicative nature and the people controlling my mail and money are business-minded. My life is difficult. I have never been interested in money. I think I'll stick to time and people and nature."

Not attuned to climbing the Canlit ladder, Rudkin contented himself with sending copies of his poetry pamphlets to university libraries. His chapbooks, at $5 per copy, were available directly from him c/o his imprint, rio Books, #108 - 1695 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 2A2. Ian Rudkin died on October 25, 2012, in the Purdy Pavilion at UBC Hospital in Vancouver.


Nature Is The Mother Of Invention (2011)
My Song Is In My Step (2011)
Evidence of Fun (Brio 2011)
Poems for Blooming Natures (Brio 2009; first edition Delina Publishing 1994, revised 2003)
Wisdom is Modesty (Brio Books, 2007)
What Goes Up Comes Out (Vancouver: Brio Books, 2006)
The Roots of Affection: An Aid to Maturing (Brio Books, 2005; revised and reprinted, 2007/2008)
Touching Tells and Learns (Brio Books, 2005; 2007)
What Goes Up Comes Out
Absurd Expectations
To Halve and to Whole?
"The Warblers" and Other Poems
The Psychology of Openness
Doing and Sharing
If You Don't Want Victory
Letting Go Is Letting Live
A Boy Forever
Love is When You Both Grow
Beauty and Truth are Teamwork
Ambition is Nice When it's Fun
Reward Yourself with Laughter
Facts Include Actions
Poems for Blooming Natures (1994)

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2012] "Poetry"