Reading in Tamagawa Garden

Sonnet L'abbé

  • BFA (York)
  • MA (Guelph)
  • PhD (UBC)

Sonnet L'Abbé, PhD was born in Toronto and spent her childhood in Calgary, in rural Manitoba, and in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. She got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Video from York University and a Master's in English Literature at the University of Guelph, then spent time teaching English in South Korea. She wrote two books of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, and worked in media relations and issues management before deciding to get her PhD in English Literature at UBC. She has since taught creative writing at UBC Okanagan and VIU. Sonnet was the 2015 Edna Staebler Writer-In-Residence at Wilfrid Laurier University. She was also the guest editor of the 2014 edition of Best Canadian Poetry.

Teaching Philosophy

I like to teach writing and reading from two perspectives: as a craftsperson and as a literary critic. That means I want students to get a lot of practice with technique and I want them to understand that they're not writing in a bubble: that their work happens in the context of other writers, other forms of storytelling and in the context of world events. I make a point of including queer writers, aboriginal writers and writers of colour on the reading lists of all my courses and to talking with my students about the relationship between what's popular, who gets represented, and who is in power. My classroom, I hope, is a place where everyone can be heard and feel heard, and where we can support each other and still disagree. My students teach me something new every term and I love the conversations I have with them. Being constantly challenged in the classroom makes me a better thinker and a better writer.