Poet and writer Fred Wah was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and grew up in British Columbia. He earned a BA in English literature from the University of British Columbia, attended the University of New Mexico, and earned an MA from SUNY Buffalo.
Wah is the author of more than 17 chapbooks and full-length collections of poetry. Wah is of both Canadian and Asian heritage; land and identity figure in his work. His Canadian-born father, raised in China, was of Chinese, Scots, and Irish heritage, and his mother was a Swedish-born Canadian. Wah’s poetry collections include Lardeau (1965); Pictograms from the Interior of B.C. (1975); Loki Is Buried at Smoky Creek: Selected Poems (1980); Waiting for Saskatchewan (1985), winner of a Canadian Governor General’s Award; Music at the Heart of Thinking (1987); So Far (1991), winner of the Stephanson Award for Poetry; and Sentenced to Light (2008).
Wah’s critical prose is collected in Faking It: Poetics & Hybridity, Critical Writing 1984–1999 (2000), which won the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Canadian Literary Criticism. His Diamond Grill (1996), a hybrid work that uses elements of autobiography, fiction, poetry, and assemblage, won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction.
One of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH, Wah has taught at Selkirk College in British Columbia and at the University of Calgary in Alberta. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.