In Tracing the Lines: Reflections on Contemporary Poetics and Cultural Politics in Honour of Roy Miki. Eds., Maia Joseph et al. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2012.

"Passionate critic, principled citizen, attentive reader and editor, and energizing teacher – Roy Miki is all these and more, a poet whose writing articulates a moving body of work. The two main areas of his passionate research and writing – social critique and poetics – inform each other in these essays, poems, and artwork compiled to mark a milestone in the life of an important public intellectual."

I got to know Roy Miki in the Writers’ Union of Canada during the late 1980s when activists in the Union began to work issues of race. This eventually led to two national meetings of writer-of-colour convened by the Union. Roy led the committee that organized the second and larger one, Writing Thru Race in 1994. In June 2009 a conference to celebrate Roy’s extraordinary life as a writer, thinker, teacher and activist was held at the Firehall Theater in Vancouver. Tracing the Lines is a collection of the presentations made by a host of artists, writers and academics who participated. What I most remember of the occasion was a conversation with Phinder Dulai when I lamented the fact that the work done in the Union had not led to long term change. In response he noted that while a tiny minority of writers at the Writing Thru Race had published, in the intervening 20 years most of them had been. So progress has definitely been made.

Download a PDF version (468Kb) of  the essay: “The Public Intellectual.”


In Geist 77, Summer 2010.

"Milton was a wordsmith of flair and stamina. A great poet, but also a great prose stylist, a sharp political analyst and a speaker of Homeric proportions. It took just one experience—of the poet reading his own work, or the revolutionary reading the Riot Act—to appreciate the erudition behind the argument, and the spell of the imagery."

Michel Lambeth's photo of Milton Acorn brings back memories of dancing, love poetry and a revolution. Read Susan Crean's article Milton and Michel online here.

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