Innovative online journal unites poets and educators

Poets and professors gathered at Green College, University of British Columbia, on March 9,  to celebrate the launch of Studio, a new online poetry journal, supported by International Education, York University, and the Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education, UBC.

Members of York, UBC, and the Vancouver poetry community braved a rainy night to listen to featured readings by poets Carl Leggo, Russell Thornton, Judith Arcana, Miranda Pearson and Rishma Dunlop (left).

“The launch space in the Coach House at UBC’s Green College was full to capacity and the journal was very well received,” said Dunlop, a professor in education and English at York University. Members of the Pacific Northwest poetry community showed up in force, including poet Rachel Rose and Studio contributor Judith Arcana from Portland Oregon, mingling with noted UBC academics such as Rob Tierney, Dean of Education; Theresa Rogers, Professor of Language and Literacy Education; Steve Petrina, Professor of Curriculum Studies; and Stephen Carey, Professor of Modern Languages Education.

“This is an exciting, interdisciplinary project that draws on the strengths of both universities, as well as artists from Canada, the United States and the international community,” said Dunlop.

Indeed, the first issue of Studio features poetry from the celebrated American poet Alicia Ostriker as well as work from prominent Canadian poets such as Steven Heighton and Evan Jones, both of whom have been nominated for Governor General’s Awards, and York professor and acclaimed poet, Priscila Uppal (left). The issue also includes work by Annie Finch, Director of the Stone Coast Creative Writing Program and founder of the International Women’s Poetry List Serve, as well as poetry and an eloquent post-9/11 meditation by Meena Alexander, born in Allahabad, India and currently Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College, New York. Photographic images from Joe Paczuski and design by Martin Elliot enrich Studio’s interdisciplinary vision.

Studio, however, is more than just another literary journal,” noted Dunlop, author and editor of numerous volumes of poetry and currently Poet-in-Residence at UBC. “Peer reviewed and published twice a year, Studio will aim to present outstanding poetry and poetry criticism from Canada and abroad, but it will also offer an innovative and unprecedented focus on the interdisciplinary relationships between poetry, education, cultural studies, and other art forms.”

In particular, every issue of Studio will feature a pedagogy section that explores issues of education related to poetry and the education of the poet, as well as concerns of poetry in relation to internationalization, globalization, contemporary society and human rights. Dunlop has developed Studio with the collaboration of assistant editor Jason Guriel (right), a York PhD student and published poet; Book Reviews editor Christopher Doda, a noted poet and reviewer; and Lynn Fels, Faculty of Education, UBC. In addition, Dunlop is planning an issue on poetry of witness, concerned with urgent human rights and global issues. And while the current issue features translations of work by the Greek poet Míltos Sachtoúris, the upcoming issue will include Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and Bosnian poet Goran Simic as examples of poets of witness.

“I’m very excited to be founding editor of this journal, a publication that promises to contribute to new and innovative forms of digital multi-media in literary publishing,” said Dunlop. “Studio is the realization of two years of research and development. The journal provides a democratic, open access venue for writers around the world to engage in conversations about the cultural work of poetry in contemporary society and a world of increasing violence and political uncertainty.”

Studio can be visited at