Alexandra Oliver at VWF: Poets in Conversation

October 22, 2022 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Nest
1398 Cartwright St
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9

If one of the great joys of poetry is reading articulations of previously mercurial sensations, then hearing poets talk about their refinement of such ideas is surely another. All the more so when the poets in question are the three on this stage: Alexandra Oliver (Hail, the Invisible Watchman), Otoniya Okot Bitek (A is for Acholi), and Madhur Anand (Parasitic Oscillations). Exploring diaspora and marginalization, domestic and social alienation, and the unraveling of the Anthropocene respectively, each collection offers remarkable portraits of our internal and external worlds, and the often surprising membrane between the two. Come revel in the medium of words with us. Moderated by Shazia Hafiz Ramji.

The panel will take place on Saturday, October 22 at 2PM PDT.

More details & tickets here.

Get your copy of Hail, the Invisible Watchman here!


The poems in Hail, the Invisible Watchman are as tidy as a picket-fence—and as suggestive. Behind the charms of iambs lurks a dark exploration of domestic and social alienation. Metered rhyme sets the tone like a chilling piano score as insidiousness creeps into the neighbourhood. A spectral narrator surveils social gatherings in the town of Sherbet Lake; community members chime in, each revealing their various troubles and hypocrisies; an eerie reimagining of an Ethel Wilson novel follows a young woman into a taboo friendship with an enigmatic divorcée. In taut poetic structures across three succinct sections, Alexandra Oliver’s conflation of the mundane and the phantasmagoric produces a scintillating portrait of the suburban uncanny.


Alexandra Oliver was born in Vancouver, BC. She is the author of three collections published through Biblioasis: Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway (2013; recipient of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award), Let the Empire Down ( 2016), and Hail, the Invisible Watchman (2022). Her libretto for From the Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King, conceived in conjunction with composer Scott Wilson at the University of Birmingham, was performed by Continuum Music in Toronto in December, 2017. Oliver is a past co-editor of Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters (Everyman’s Library/Random House, 2015) as well as of the formalist journal The Rotary Dial. She has performed her work for CBC Radio and NPR, as well as at The National Poetry Slam and numerous festivals and conferences. Oliver holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program and a Ph.D. in English and Cultural Studies from McMaster University. She lives in Burlington, Ontario with her husband and son.