Robert Bringhurst

Poet Spotlight: Robert Bringhurst

September 3, 2023
Veronica Martinez

One of the outstanding minds residing in the Cascadia bioregion that we will be featured at the 7th Cascadia Poetry Festival is Robert Bringhurst, one of Canada’s most revered poets and an influential typographer and translator. Bringhurst will be hosting the talk “Bioregional Typography” with poet and typographer Theresa Whitehill.

Bringhurst has an incredibly vast catalog of achievements, with multiple published collections of poetry and prose and important role in the field of typography, with his 1992 book The Elements of Typographic Style still considered one of the most influential reference books on typography. Additionally, Bringhurst is a translator and cultural historian that has worked to translate the epics and storytelling of the Haida into English, and has won awards for his work with the Haida language and culture.

Something that struck me as I read about Bringhurst in preparation for the Cascadia Poetry Festival is the wide range of knowledge and inspiration that he incorporates into his work. Drawing influences from his experience with Native storytelling as well as his training in linguistics, philosophy, ecology and art, Bringhurst has spoken of his interest in exploring philosophical questions rather than direct personal exploration through his poetry. Through these different topics, Bringhurst explores humanity and the many challenges and questions we face as humans without focusing directly on the self. By interacting with the history and cultures of the bioregion through his various fields of work, Bringhurst has a distinct perspective that is connected and reverent of the cultures and philosophies that reside in the bioregion.

Bringhurst is married to Canadian poet and philosopher Jan Zwicky, who will also be featured at the festival. We are ecstatic about their participation, and I am looking forward to listening to their distinct perspectives on poetry in the bioregion!



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