Daphne Marlatt reading “Lagoon” – Sir George Williams University, November 3, 1970

November 28, 2019
Katherine McLeod

Daphne Marlatt starts her reading with poems from Vancouver Poems (1972), a deeply local collection that she had not yet published when this reading took place at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) in Montreal. She tells the audience that she will explain the local references as she goes along, starting with the first poem that refers to Lost Lagoon in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. What Marlatt could not have anticipated is that the poems would become pathways to revisit the city when republishing many of them years later in Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now (2013). Akin to Marlatt’s revisiting of place in Steveston (1974 and republished in 1984 and 2001), Liquidities revisits both the city and the poetic voice. As Marlatt writes, “Vancouver Poems was a young woman’s take on a young city as it surfaced to her gaze” and, in Liquidities, “the poems remain verbal snapshots, running associations that sound locales and their passers-through within a shifting context of remembered history, terrain, and sensory experience” (“Then and Now,” xi). Marlatt’s return to the poems is not unlike the poet listening again to her recorded voice. That is exactly what Marlatt did in November 2014 at Concordia when she read alongside and responded to her SGW (Sir George Williams) Poetry Series recording – and, five years later, in September 2019 at UBC-Okanagan when Marlatt listened and responded to recordings of her voice and other voices in the SGW Poetry Series and the UBC Okanagan-based SoundBox collection. When listening to Marlatt reading “Lagoon,” we can hear the many futures of her listening, then and now.

Listen to the entire recording here.


Butchart, Megan. “Poetry, Campus, Community: Tuum Est.” The AMP Lab. UBC-Okanagan, 18 November 2019.

Daphne Marlatt & Diane Wakoski: Performing the SpokenWeb Archive.” SpokenWeb. Concordia University, 21 November 2014.

Marlatt, Daphne. “Then and Now.” Liquidities: Vancouver Poems Then and Now. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2013. xi-xiii.

Shearer, Karis. “Performing the Archive: Daphne Marlatt, leaf leaf/s, then and now.” The AMP Lab. UBC-Okanagan, 17 November 2019.

Katherine McLeod

Katherine McLeod researches and teaches Canadian literature through sound, performance, and archives. Her recent publications include a chapters in the books Public Poetics: Critical Issues in Canadian Poetry and Poetics, Moving Archives (Wilfrid Laurier UP), and CanLit Across Media: Unarchiving the Literary Event (MQUP), which she also co-edited with Jason Camlot. Currently, she is an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Concordia University, where she researches CBC Radio recordings and where she is organizing SpokenWeb’s Ghost Reading Series.

Follow the site she curates for Montreal readings at WherePoetsRead.ca and @poetsread.