Lorna Crozier

Internationally acclaimed Canadian poet Lorna Crozier will participate in two free events this month as Vancouver Island University’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2018. The Victoria-based poet has published 18 collections of poems, earned five honorary doctorates, and is the recipient of a Governor-General’s Award for Poetry, making her a major literary voice in Canada.

The first of these two events will be a poetry reading at White Sails Brewing on Wednesday, November 7 from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. Creative writing student Aislinn Cottell will also be sharing the stage with Crozier, reading from her own collection of original poetry.

Cottell, whose first reading was in 2017 as part of Portal’s annual issue launch, is excited to be reading alongside such a prominent figure in the literary world.

I have not met Crozier before—I’m thrilled and mildly terrified to read with her. I love her poetry concerning the Sex Lives of Vegetables, and am looking forward to chatting about her experiences writing as both a serious feminist and irreverent comic,” Cottell said in an interview.

In the second event on November 8, Crozier will be speaking at Vancouver Island University in building 355, room 203 at 7 pm, with an introduction by VIU English Professor Dr. Deborah Torkko. The lecture, titled “Writing & Risk,” will discuss the importance of speaking your mind and the courage behind sharing one’s story in today’s literary world.

Crozier’s vast collection of work explores themes of human relationships, the natural world, and perception. Her experience gives her valuable insight on the writing process, making the lecture an excellent opportunity for writers of any genre to gain perspective from a seasoned author.

When asked about her own writing process, Cottell said that taking risks is a necessary part of her approach. 

“I’d say most of what I write constitutes a ‘risk’ in some fashion, either in form or subject. I find writing about non-risky things to be a bit boring. I am still learning how to be vulnerable in my writing, however, which I think is essential for any author if they want their work to ring ‘true’ to readers at a deeper level, but is a bit like pulling teeth for me,” Cottell said.

Cottell says the encouragement she has received in the Creative Writing program at VIU has helped her find new places to share her work. “I’d like to thank Sonnet L’Abbé for inviting me to the read at this event—it’s an amazing opportunity and I’m very grateful for her support and confidence.”

Both events are open to the public as part of VIU’s Ralph Gustafson Poet-In-Residence Series, established in 1988 to advance Canadian poetry and support local poets.

The November 8 event will include a catered reception following the lecture, where a collection of Crozier’s books and previous Gustafson lecture chapbooks will be available for purchase.


Wednesday, November 7

White Sails Brewery

7:30 – 8:30pm


Thursday, November 8

“Writing & Risk”

VIU Campus, Building 355, room 203

7:00 pm. Catered Reception to follow.

Courtesy parking is available in Lot N, below Building 355.