The 2022 Anne Szumigalski Lecture presents:
What have we left to us?
Examining questions as a means of existential analysis in poetry
with Tolu Oloruntoba
This lecture is now available in print from Prairie Fire, Winter 22-23 Issue, Volume 43, No. 4. Check it out
On the heels of a special Spring Anne Szumigalski Lecture from Parliamentary Poet Laureate Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer, we are excited to welcome Griffin Award-winning poet Tolu Oloruntoba to deliver our Fall 2022 Anne Szumigalski Lecture on Friday, September 23, 2022.
With this lecture, Oloruntoba explores questions as a means of existential analysis: What can questions show us about the deeper intents and potentials of poetry? How may we apply that to literary analysis and for navigating current times? Are the questions of the poets representative of their eras, or do they remain archetypal? From a close study of Anne Szumigalski’s oeuvre, Oloruntoba homes in on at least 77 of the questions posed by the lecture’s namesake. By exploring ten realms of questioning, including semantic, functional, philosophical, pedagogical, Socratic, scientific, research, rhetorical, and existential, the poet asks other questions: Can we find our way into deeper levels of poems by tracing their questions? What else could these powerful rhetorical nodes yield? Can this tendency help us navigate the world? And what existential answers are achievable when we ask better questions?”
About Tolu Oloruntoba
Tolu Oloruntoba has been a physician, editor, and project manager, and has lived in three countries. His literary work combines existential analysis with historical and contemporary critique. His debut collection of poetry, The Junta of Happenstance, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry in English and the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize. He lives with his family in Semiahmoo, Katzie, and Kwantlen territories known as Surrey, BC. His second collection, Each One a Furnace, was published by McClelland & Stewart.