In Vancouver for Beginners, the nostalgia of place is dissected through the mapping of a city where readers are led past surrealist development proposals, post-apocalyptic postcards, childhood landmarks long gone and a developer who paces at the city's edge, shoring it up with aquariums.
In these poems you will traverse a city lined with rivers, not streets. Memory traps and tourist traps reveal themselves, and the ocean glints, elusive, in the background. Here there are many Vancouvers and no Vancouver, a city meant for elsewhere after the flood has swept through. This place of the living and the dead has been rewritten: forests are subsumed by parks, buildings sink and morph, and the climate has changed.
Vancouver for Beginners is a ghost story, an elegy, a love song for a city that is both indecipherable and a microcosm of a world on fire.
Alex Leslie was born and lives in Vancouver. She is the author of the short story collection People Who Disappear (2012) which was nominated for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction and a 2013 ReLit Award, as well as a collection of prose poems, The things I heard about you (2014), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroestch Award for Innovative Poetry. Winner of the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers, Alex's short fiction has been included in the Journey Prize Anthology, The Best of Canadian Poetry in English, and in a special issue of Granta spotlighting Canadian writing, co-edited by Madeleine Thien and Catherine Leroux.