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Acclaimed poet and KPU instructor shares ‘imperfect utopias’ in new book

Acclaimed poet and KPU instructor shares ‘imperfect utopias’ in new book

Mon, Apr 3, 2023
Jen Currin

Trinity Street is part of an ordinary East Vancouver neighbourhood, complete with a community garden down the block.

Now the street where Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) instructor Jen Currin once lived has been given new life as the title of their new book of poetry, which questions the places we inhabit in our cities, minds and spirits.

“I’m interested in a place that’s imaginative, even mythical, but also a real place,” says Currin. “Trinity Street tries on a series of imperfect utopias to see which ones might fit.”Trinity Street

Set for release April 4, Trinity Street is the fifth poetry collection from Currin, who teaches creative writing and English upgrading at KPU.

It’s been a long time coming. Currin last published a poetry book in 2015.

“I sat on the manuscript for a long time and made a lot of changes. Because I write a lot I wanted to be really careful that I was ready to publish again,” says Currin. “In a way I feel good that it’s coming out now, as it speaks to many current events we are living through, even though nine years is a really long time in between collections.”

As an instructor at KPU, Currin is able to share with students the process of writing and publishing – and remind them it’s a lot of hard work, but also fun.

“My tendency is to not talk about myself because I’m so focused on the students and their processes and their growth. But I’m trying to teach myself to model and be more vulnerable and open about my own processes, my own failures, because failing is a huge part of writing.”

Currin’s poems weave together the meditative and the disruptive, the queer and the quotidian, and the worlds of the dead and the living. Various themes ring throughout the book, including challenges facing the planet: the climate crisis, collective grief, and the perils of late capitalism.

“My poetry seems to bring a lot of worlds together,” says Currin. “I’m always noticing, listening, and when I go to write, I weave things together. My poems tend to span several worlds at once.”

Currin’s other collections of poetry include The Sleep of Four Cities, Hagiography, The Inquisition Yours (winner of the 2011 Audre Lorde Award), and School. Their last book was a collection of short stories entitled Hider/Seeker: Stories, which won a Canadian Independent Book Award and was named a 2018 Globe and Mail Best Book.

Trinity Street is published by Anansi Press, and is available wherever books are sold.