Fonds MSC-17 - Fred Wah fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Fred Wah fonds

General material designation

  • Multi-media

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

MSC-17

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1927, 1959-2013 (Creation)
    Creator
    Wah, Fred

Physical description area

Physical description

8.8 m of textual records
230 photographs
10 computer disks
6 videocassettes

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1939-)

Biographical history

Fred Wah (born January 23, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, and scholar involved in the post-modern literary scene in Canada, both as teacher and writer. He was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, but raised in the interior of British Columbia. His father was a Canadian-born but raised in China, who was born to a Chinese father and an English mother, while his mother a Swedish-born Canadian who came to Canada at age 6. His diverse ethnic makeup figures significantly in his writings. In 1962, Wah married Pauline Butling, a teacher, writer, and literary critic. Wah studied Music and English at the University of British Columbia (BA 1963), did some graduate work in English Literature at the University of New Mexico from 1963-1964, and completed an MA in English at the State University of New York Buffalo in 1967.

Wah is primarily known as a poet and has published numerous books of poetry, including “Lardeau” (1965), “Breathin' My Name with a Sigh” (1981); “Waiting for Saskatchewan” (1985), winner of the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, “Music at the Heart of Thinking” (1987); “Alley Alley Homefree” (1992); and “is a door” (2009), winner of the Dorothy Livesay Prize for Poetry. He is the author of the bio-fiction “Diamond Grill” (1996), winner of the Howard O'Hagan prize for short fiction. He has also written many works of nonfiction. His collection of critical essays “Faking it: Poetics and Hybridity” (2000), winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Criticism, represents fifteen years of his writings in various forms.

Wah has worked as an instructor of English composition and literature at various academic institutions. From 1967-1989, he taught writing at Selkirk College in Castlegar, British Columbia, while living in South Slocan. He also taught at David Thompson University Centre in Nelson, British Columbia, until the school’s closing in 1984. When the David Thompson University Centre closed in 1984, Wah was involved in establishing the Kootenay School of Writing in its place, and from 1995-1999, Wah served as an electronic writing advisor for the Kootenay School of Art. In 1989, he was appointed professor of English at the University of Calgary, a position he held until 2003, when he retired and became professor emeritus. He taught courses in English composition and literature. In 1995, Wah taught a graduate seminar on bpNichol’s “The Martyrology” at the University of Calgary in conjunction with Roy Miki, who taught a section of the same seminar at Simon Fraser University.

Wah has also worked extensively as an editor, both for literary periodicals, and as editor for the poetry manuscripts of friends, colleagues, and peers. While at the University of British Columbia, he was a founding editor and contributor to the poetry newsletter “TISH,” and served as Associate Editor from 1961 to 1963. Well known for his work on literary journals and small-press, Wah has been a contributing editor to the journal “Open Letter” since its beginning in 1970, involved in the editing of “West Coast Line,” and, along with Frank Davey, he co-edited the world's first online literary magazine, SwiftCurrent in 1986. From 1992 1993, he was part of the editorial collective of “Appropriate Voice,” the newsletter for the Racial Minorities Committee of the Writers’ Union of Canada, and also worked to organize a conference of the same name held in May 1992 in Orilla, Ontario. From 2003 to 2008 Wah served as poetry editor for “The Literary Review of Canada.”

Wah has been a member of various committees, both academic and non-academic. At the University of Calgary, he served on the Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Authors Programme Steering Committee 1993-1994, 1996-1997, and 2000-2001. A long-time member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, Wah served on the National Council Executive from 1996-1997, on the National Executive from 2000-2001, and was Chair of the Union from 2001-2002. From 1990-1994, he served on the Racial Minorities Committee of the union.

Wah served as the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada from 2012-2013, and in 2013 was appointed to the Order of Canada.

Custodial history

The records were in the custody of Fred Wah until their acquisition by Simon Fraser University Library, Special Collections and Rare Books. The first accession, MsC 17, was acquired in 1994, accession MsC 17a in 2001, accession MsC 17b in 2006, and accession MsC 17c in 2013.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, written works and published materials by Wah and other writers, photographs, and other records accumulated by Wah during his lifetime, arising from both personal and professional activities. Records include poems, essays and reviews; journals and notebooks; book manuscripts; teaching materials; travel records; administrative records; and promotional material for conferences, workshops and other events.

The records in this fonds have been arranged into the following eight series: Correspondence (1960-2013); Writings and related records (1961-2012); Research records, works of others, and works about Wah ([196-]-2012); Academic work and instruction records (1927, [196-]-2005); Events and travel records (1965- 2013); Professional service and activities records ([ca. 1961]-2013); Residency records (1981-2007); and Personal records ([196-?]-[199-?]).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

Arrangement of the files into series and sub-series provided by the archivist. Files are arranged by accession, and are then arranged first chronlogically, and then alphabetically by file title, unless otherwise stated.

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Restrictions on access

All of the works in this fonds, e.g. poetry, music, essays, and other written material, are under copyright. Researchers are required to secure permission from the copyright holder(s) for uses of this material other than those covered by fair dealing.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

File list is available.

Associated materials

A number of Wah’s publications are available in the Simon Fraser University Library. See the library catalogue for more information.

Related materials

Accruals

Further accruals are expected.

Alpha-numeric designations

BCAUL control number: SFL--2286

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Status

Published

Level of detail

Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created May 14, 2014, LZ,
Revised August 10, 2015, NT

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

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