Victoria Arts Council presents STANZAS

New city-wide project investigating the overlap of literary and visual arts

In literature, a stanza refers to the paragraphs in a poem. The Victoria Arts Council has assembled STANZAS—a groundswell of activity taking place in various venues throughout the Capital Regional District. The events investigate the overlap of literary and visual arts.

The anchor exhibition, concrete is porous, takes place at the VAC’s main gallery (1800 Store Street) and features work by 28 preeminent Canadian poets such as bpNichol, bill bissett and Paul Dutton, along with sections of work by Griffin Poetry Prize Winner Jordan Abel’s latest collection, NISHGA. Also on view at the VAC is project by local poet-librarian Christine Walde, which uses lyrics from the popular band Joy Division, a folio of concrete poetry by internationally recognized Vancouver Island artist Michael Morris, as well as the most expensive poem ever published: Aram Soryan’s “lighght”.

“To bring together 50 artists experimenting with writing, language, literature and form has been a dream of mine” says VAC executive director and STANZAS architect Kegan McFadden. “As an experimental genre, concrete poetry and the artists who embraced and pushed this form over the past 60 years in Canada, asks us to look again at how we see and interpret the world around us; how we understand something as fundamental as communication.”

Half a dozen partnering organizations round out the activities associated with STANZAS, including exhibitions at arc-hive gallery, where poets responded to visual artists; a group show at errant artSpace that promotes the incorporation of literature in visual art; and two window displays at Empty Gallery and The Ministry of Casual Living.

From group art exhibits to individual presentations, there are visual artists as well as poets, scholars and autodidacts alike coming together to take part in STANZAS. For more information visit

And the STANZAS are:

• Micah Lexier at Empty Gallery: September 1-30

• jg Mair at The Ministry of Casual Living (Oden Alley): September 1-30

• concrete is porous at VAC: September4 to October 24

• ekphrasis poets respond to visual artists at arc-hive artist-run centre

• conTEXT at errant artSpace: September 12-27, weekends only, 12-5 pm

• errant artSpace Ekphrastic Poetry Event: September12, 3 pm

• “The Speaking Surface: Text and Embodiment in Painting,” a lecture by John Luna (remotely via Vancouver Island School of Art): September 19, 7:30-9 pm

• A Reading from the Ether by bill bissett at VAC [remote presentation]

• LINE/break: a curatorial roundtable at VAC October 24, 3 pm

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