Lisa Robertson

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Lisa Robertson
Born (1961-07-22) July 22, 1961 (age 57)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationPoet, teacher
GenrePoetry, essay

Lisa Robertson (born July 22, 1961) is a Canadian poet, essayist and translator. She lives in France.

Life and work[edit]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Robertson moved to British Columbia in 1979, where she remained for twenty-three years. During the 90s, she was a member of The Kootenay School of Writing, which was a writer-run collective, and Artspeak Gallery. From 1988 to 1994 she ran Proprioception Books, a bookstore in downtown Vancouver specializing in poetry, theory and criticism, where she also hosted readings,[1][2] her first book was a chapbook, The Apothecary, published by Tsunami Editions in 1991.[3] Since then she has published eight books of poetry and two books of essays.

Robertson studied at Simon Fraser University[4] (1984–1988), then left the university to become an independent bookseller (1988–1994). Since 1995 she has been a freelance writer and teacher, her many essays on the contemporary visual arts, published in gallery and museum catalogues since the mid-1990s, are collected in her 2003 book Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture.

In 2006, Robertson was a judge of the Griffin Poetry Prize and Holloway poet-in-residence at UC Berkeley.[4] From 2007 to 2010 she taught at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. In Fall 2010 she was writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. In Spring 2014 she was the Bain Swigget lecturer in Poetry at Princeton University.[5] In 2017 she was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, and in 2018 she received the Foundation for Contemporary Arts C.D. Wright Award.[6]

Her first novel, The Baudelaire Fractal, will be published by Coach House Books in 2020.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Apothecary (Vancouver, BC: Tsunami, 1991; reissued 2001)
  • reissued (Toronto: Bookthug, 2007)[3]
  • The Barscheit Horse with Catriona Strang and Christine Stewart (Hamilton, Ontario: Berkeley Horse, 1993)
  • XEclogue II-V (Vancouver: Sprang Texts, 1993)
  • XEclogue (Vancouver, BC: Tsunami Editions 1993, reissued by New Star Books, 1999)
  • The Glove: An Essay on Interpretation (Vancouver: UBC Fine Arts Gallery, 1993)
  • The Badge (Hamilton, Ontario: The Berkeley Horse/Mindware, 1994)
  • Earth Monies (Mission, BC: DARD, 1995)
  • The Descent (Buffalo, NY: Meow, 1996)
  • Debbie: An Epic (Vancouver, BC: New Star, 1997; UK: Reality Street, 1997)
  • Soft Architecture: A Manifesto (Vancouver: Artspeak Gallery, 1999)
  • The Weather (Vancouver, BC: New Star, 2001; UK: Reality Street, 2001)
  • A Hotel (Vancouver: Vancouver Film School, 2003)
  • Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (Astoria, OR: Clear Cut Press, 2003)
  • Face/ (New York: A Rest Press, 2003)
  • Rousseau’s Boat (Vancouver, BC: Nomados, 2004)
  • First Spontaneous Horizontal Restaurant. Belladonna 75. (Brooklyn: Belladonna Books, 2005)
  • The Men: A Lyric Book (Toronto: BookThug, 2006)
  • Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip (Toronto: Coach House Press, 2009)
  • R's Boat (University of California Press, 2010)
  • Nilling: Prose (Toronto: BookThug, 2012)[7]
  • Cinema Of the Present (Toronto: Coach House Press, 2014)[8]
  • 3 Summers (Toronto: Coach House Press, 2016)
  • Starlings (San Francisco: Krupskaya, 2018)
  • Proverbs of a She-Dandy (Paris/Vancouver: Libraries Editeurs, 2018)[9]
  • Thresholds: A Prosody of Citizenship (London: Bookworks, 2019)

Selected essays[edit]

  • "Coasting" with Jeff Derksen, Nancy Shaw, and Catriona Strang. Telling it Slant: Avant Garde Poetics of the 1990s. Ed. Mark Wallace. (Tuscaloosa: Alabama UP, 2002)
  • "The Weather: A Report on Sincerity," from DC Poetry Anthology 2001.[10]
  • "How Pastoral: A Manifesto." A Poetics of Criticism. Ed. Juliana Spahr. (Buffalo: Leave Books, 1994)
  • "My Eighteeneth Century." Assembling Alternatives. Ed. Romana Huk. (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2003)
  • "On Palinode." Chicago Review 51:4/52:1 (2006)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KSW Reading Locations Catalogue". The Kootenay School of Writing. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  2. ^ Fortier, Laura. "Lisa Robertson Fonds (MsC38)" (PDF). Simon Fraser University Collections and Rare Books. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b "BookThug Publishing - The Apothecary by Lisa Robertson, Launch Packages". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  4. ^ a b "Lisa Robertson". The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  5. ^ "Lisa M Robertson | Department of English". Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  6. ^ "Canadian Lisa Robertson wins $40K poetry prize from New York's Foundation For Contemporary Arts". CBC Books, December 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "BookThug Publishing - Nilling by Lisa Robertson, Lisa Robertson". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  8. ^ "Cinema of the Present | Coach House Books". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
  9. ^ "Put it in words: How writing and reading by women influenced art in the '70s". Vancouver Sun. 2018-01-13. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  10. ^ "Robertson, Lisa". Retrieved 2011-07-02.