No two people have been more influential in my life than HOA NGUYEN and DALE MARTIN SMITH. Nor could I imagine a KFB without them, their persistent love, guidance, friendship, and bedrock support. They have been at the heart of all that we do here, from donating dishes, our area rug, books upon books, time, readings, acquiring poets to come and read, Dale sourcing out and donating our new sound system, their combined wisdom in publishing and building community with heart generosity and care.
Then there’s the work. Their extraordinary rich bodies of work in poetry, poetics, mentoring, teaching, guiding, never stingy always keen on creating, refining, and sussing out good work, supportive in nurturing the same. Their two KFB chapbooks, Dale’s SONS, and Hoa’s ASK ABOUT LANGUAGE AS IF IT FORGETS are unforgettable treasures I cherish and aspire to.
Friendships, ones that see, embrace, and encourage you to be nothing less than brilliant, are so rare. Hoa and Dale are gold.
HOA NGUYEN is a Toronto-based poet, speaker, and facilitator who’s most recent works include As Long As Trees Last, Red Juice,Violet Energy Ingots, which received a 2017 Griffin Prize nomination, and forthcoming, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure (Wave, 2021).
As a public proponent and advocate of contemporary poetry, she has served as guest editor for The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2018, has been appointed the judge for the 2019 Griffin Prize and has performed and lectured at numerous institutions, including Princeton University, Bard College, Poet’s House, and the Banff Centre’s Writers Studio. Most recently, Hoa was the recipient of a 2019 Pushcart Prize and a 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature nomination. She has also received grants and fellowships from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the MacDowell Colony, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her writing has garnered attention from such outlets as The PBS News Hour, Granta, The Walrus, New York Times, and Poetry, among others.
DALE MARTIN SMITH is a poet and scholar who lives in Toronto, Ontario, where he teaches at Ryerson University. With Hoa Nguyen, he edited 10 issues of Skanky Possum (1998-2006). He has published several books of poetry [incl. Sons, knife | fork | book, 2017], a scholarly monograph on poetry and public culture, and edited the correspondence of Robert Duncan and Charles Olson in An Open Map (U New Mexico 2017). A new book of poetry, Shreve, will be published by Talonbooks in fall 2021.