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About SpokenWeb

SpokenWeb is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded partnership that aims to develop coordinated and collaborative approaches to literary historical study, digital development, and critical and pedagogical engagement with diverse collections of literary sound recordings from across Canada and beyond. 

With access to more than 40 collections contributing thousands of sound recordings, SpokenWeb is changing the way we collectively access, think about, and describe audio recordings. The SpokenWeb team has members from more than 14 institutions across Canada and internationally.

To learn more about the SpokenWeb SFU team members and for more information about the larger SpokenWeb project, visit spokenweb.ca. Questions or inquiries about SpokenWeb events can be directed to Kate Moffatt.

About the SpokenWeb project at SFU

Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) branch of SpokenWeb is working with the literary sound recordings stewarded by Special Collections and Rare Books. The collections consist of more than 3000 artifacts in the form of cassettes, mini-cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes, and CDs from more than 50 writers and performers. The recordings document poetry readings, literary conversation, and writing history from the 1960s to present.

The recordings are organized in collections that are informed by particular areas, schools, or themes, including the Contemporary Literature Collection as well as other relevant collections in the SFU Library. More information about individual collections within the Contemporary Literature Collection and other SFU collections with sound holdings is available below. For a full inventory, or if you have questions about the Contemporary Literature Collection or the other specific collections listed here, reach out to Tony Power.

Many of these collections are currently unavailable to listen to online. However they can be heard in person at Special Collections and Rare Books at SFU’s Bennett Library.

SpokenWeb digitized collections

Browse and listen to selections of digitized recordings from Special Collections and Rare Books holdings.

Archival collections at SCRB

Click on each entry below for more information about each fonds or collection, the extent of the items within them, and a link to the collections archival finding aid (if applicable).

Anita Rau BADAMI Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-141
Number of tapes: 2 cassettes

Anita Rau Badami (1961-) is the author of four novels: Tamarind Mem (1997), The Hero’s Walk (2001), Can You Hear the Nightbird Call (2006), and Tell it to the Trees (2011). Her fonds< at SFU contains records collected by Badami during the course of her career, including two audio cassettes. The cassettes are titled “CBC India 50th Century” and “Midnight’s Children: Fiction of South Asia,” and are from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.



Archival reference: MsC-19
Number of tapes: 16 cassettes

The B.C. Poets and Print Fonds contains recordings of interviews done for a special issue of Open Letter, a Victoria-founded journal of writing and theory, on B.C. poets. The issue was published in the summer of 1989, and the cassettes are accompanied by printed transcripts.

Mary BILLY Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-170
Number of tapes: 1 cassette

Fonds consists of records relating to Mary Billy’s life and work as a feminist and editor of Herspectives magazine. Records include correspondence, notes, drafts, poetry, women’s activism records, diaries, journals, clippings, photographs, and research records.

Robin BLASER Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: Robin Blaser Readings
Archival reference: MsA 1, and MsA-1a
Number of tapes: 12 cassettes (MsA 1, 1a)

Robin Blaser, author and poet, was a member of the Berkeley Renaissance group of poets and a professor at Simon Fraser University from 1966 to 1986. The Robin Blaser Fonds holds readings, studio recordings, and an audio program for the play “The Last Supper” in MsA 1 and MsA 1a. There are also ~73 cassettes in the Readings in B.C. collection (below) which hold Blaser's SFU course lectures, readings, and panel discussions.


SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-73
Number of tapes: 6 cassettes

The filling Station Publications Society is a society that publishes a literary arts magazine three times a year. Formed in Calgary, Alberta, in 1993, it also hosts events and fundraisers, and publishes stand-alone literary chapbooks. The cassettes in the fonds hold recordings of local slam poetry events as well as readings by local poets.


Gerry GILBERT Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: radiofreerainforest collection
Archival reference: MsC-14
Number of tapes: ~500 cassettes, and 24 reel to reel

Gerry Gilbert was a Vancouver-based poet, host of the weekly radiofreerainforest broadcast, and founder of “B.C. Monthly.” This fonds consists of records ranging from 1952-1992 in the form of extensive textual records (travel diaries, tax documents, notebooks, etc.) and audio recordings of the radiofreerainforest broadcasts.

Fumiko KIYOOKA Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-194
Number of tapes: 49 cassettes

The fonds consists of research, moving image, and audio from the production of Kiyooka’s documentary REED: the life and works of Roy Kiyooka. Includes interviews, likely unedited, with various writers for the film.


Archival reference: MsC-32
Number of tapes: ~420 cassettes

Roy Kiyooka was a poet and multidisciplinary artist who moved to Vancouver, BC in 1959. Sound holdings include readings and talks, and also many recordings of music, personal musings, ‘kitchen tapes, and sounds of the city. Fonds also contains many unknown tapes that are unmarked.



Archival reference: MsC-68
Number of tapes: ~308 cassettes, 7 CDs, 27 mini-DVD cassettes

The Kootenay School of Writing is a literary collective formed in the 1960s by prominent figures in BC, predominantly located in Nelson and Vancouver. Contents include recordings of readings, talks, and lectures, as well as administrative records, meeting minutes, correspondence, and promotional materials, such as brochures and posters, from their events.

Hartmut LUTZ Collection

Archival reference: MsC-206
Number of tapes: 99 cassettes

Interviews, lectures, and readings by Indigenous artists and scholars spanning from the 1970s to the 1990s, including Thomas King, Joy Harjo, Russell Means, and Howard Adams.

Daphne MARLATT Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-142
Number of tapes: 4 cassettes, 9 CDs, 5 reels

Daphne Marlatt is a Vancouver-based poet and writer. She was involved with the poets known as the TISH group, edited poetry for The Capilano Review, and has published several poetry works, novels, chapbooks, collaborations, and a script. The fonds includes CBC and Coop radio interviews and a number of readings, all predominantly from after 1990.


Michael McCLURE Fonds

Archival reference: MsA-5
Number of tapes: ~75 cassettes, 5 reel to reel

Michael McClure was a well-known poet and playwright, and a member of the “Beat Generation.” The fonds holds tape recordings of readings by both McClure and other members of the “Beat Generation,” mostly poets.

Roy MIKI Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-161
Number of tapes: ~65 cassettes, 2 CDs

Art, ephemera, curriculum and chapbooks from poet and professor Roy Miki, spanning from the1970s until the early 2000s. Audio holdings include sessions and interviews with poets, recordings from the Larissa Lai event at Western Front 2006, and Warren Tallman interviews.

Shani MOOTOO Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-76
Number of tapes: 4 cassettes

Radio programs, interviews, and films by Trinidadian artist and writer Shani Mootoo.


Al NEIL Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-128
Number of tapes: 4 cassettes, 2 LPs, 56 reels, 3 audio discs

Reels, cassettes, and LP’s from the collection of Al Neil, an important figure in Vancouver BC’s jazz scene in the 1950’s and 60’s. The sound recordings are largely from 1976 to 1987, consisting mostly of music and sound recordings but including interviews, as well.

bp NICHOL Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-12

bpNichol was a Vancouver-based poet known for his concrete poetry. He had his own presses, grOnk and Ganglia, and was a member of the sound-poetry group, “The Four Horsemen.” The fonds includes recordings of readings and performances, likely both alone and with The Four Horsemen, and possibly conference panel recordings.

READINGS IN B.C. Collection

Archival reference: MsC-199
Number of tapes: ~1,044 cassettes

The Readings in B.C. Collection holds recordings of literary readings, panels, conference events, and lectures from more than 400 Canadian and American writers. The recordings range from the mid-1960s to the 2010s, recorded mostly in the Lower Mainland and throughout British Columbia.



Archival reference: MsC-38
Number of tapes: 8 cassettes ​​​​​​

Lisa Robertson is a France-based poet who attended Simon Fraser University and was involved in the Kootenay School of Writing in the 1990s.

Warren TALLMAN Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-26
Number of tapes: 237 tapes, 21 reel to reel

Warren Tallman was an important figure in Canadian poetry, and mentor to the Tish writers. The fonds includes poetry readings, writings, notes, and correspondence.

Peter TROWER Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-36
Number of tapes: 7 cassettes, 31 CDs

Peter Trower was a Vancouver-based poet. His years working in logging camps throughout B.C. influenced his work. The fonds includes musical performances and other sound recordings from 1981 to 2004.


Michael TURNER Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-107
Number of tapes: 46 cassettes

The personal collection of the author of “Hardcore Logo” includes a CBC radioplay adaptation as well as a large collection of poetry readings and cassettes of punk bands in Vancouver.

Alan TWIGG Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-63
Number of tapes: 149 audio cassettes, 2 audio reels, 4 CDs

Series consists of records relating to Peter Trower’s readings, his musical performances, and his participation in various literary festivals, conferences and interviews. Includes readings by Al Purdy, Patrick Lane, Ken Dalgleish.

Eleanor WACHTEL Fonds

Archival reference: MsC-21
Number of tapes: 42 reel to reel

Audio reels of Eleanor Wachtel’s CBC radio reviews of stage plays, motion pictures, children's books and popular culture events and festivals, especially those held in the Lower Mainland area of B.C.


Fred WAH Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-17
Number of tapes: 25 cassettes, 15 sound CDs, 27 mini-cassettes

A prominent figure of BC’s literary scene, Fred Wah was a member of the collective who formed the TISH poetry newsletter in the 1960’s and was a member of the Kootenay School or Writing.


SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-23
Number of tapes: 115 cassettes

A large collection of panel discussions, meetings, and readings from the Women and Words conference in 1983. Includes a Native Women Writer panel featuring Maria Campbell, Beth Cuthand, and Jeanette Armstrong.

Carolyn ZONAILO Fonds

SFU Digitized Collection: Unarchiving the Margins collection
Archival reference: MsC-79
Number of tapes: 4 cassettes, 3 phonographic records

Four cassettes of Carolyn Zonailo’s poetry, two of which feature music by Kevin Godson.