Iron Goddess of Mercy: A Long Poem


Wednesday February 13, 2019    
5:00 - 6:30 pm PST


Green College
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Iron Goddess of Mercy is a long poem in the form of a series of letters. It is also a nonsense rant that draws in the multiple exigencies of our contemporary moment and its histories, from undocumented border crossings to land to property relations to call out culture to the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is replete with subjects: therapists, avatars, corporations, animals, monsters, mothers, stem cells, time zones, and even the occasional human being. It is full of affect—rage, grief, joy, amusement, surprise, fear, shame. Riskily playful and yet deadly serious, it enacts and illustrates the role that poetry has to play in our way through the horrors and possibilities of the present moment.
Larissa Lai is the author of three novels, The Tiger Flu, Salt Fish Girl and When Fox Is a Thousand; two poetry collections, sybil unrest (with Rita Wong) and Automaton Biographies; a chapbook, Eggs in the Basement; and a critical book, Slanting I, Imagining We: Asian Canadian Literary Production in the 1980s and 1990s. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.
In the Coach House at Green College. Event link.
Critical Nationalisms, Counterpublics addresses our shared situation of living amongst resurgent and competing nationalisms at a time when our critical and community discourses refuse or redefine the category of ‘nation’ or use other categories entirely. In a context saturated with resurgent populism, white supremacy and colonial settler violence what do our forms and communities of resistance offer as a counter to the renewed circulation of nationalist language, feeling and action? How do we enact our critical and creative capacities against or despite this daily reality? Confirmed speakers in the series will address the topic from their groundings in black studies, critical theory, anti-colonial resistance and the psychic life of power, with areas as far flung as the Caribbean, North Africa and Latin America. Their disciplinary homes range widely and include: literature, political economy, philosophy and anthropology. The series leads up to a conference in March on CNCP with international keynotes and participants. Series poster can be downloaded here.

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