PhD (Bond University)
Biography & Academic Background
Trevor Carolan began writing at 17 for The Columbian, filing dispatches from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury countercultural scene. He travelled Britain, Europe and India before mastering in English at Humboldt State in Arcata, California in 1978. A literary journalist, poet, critic and anthologist, his teaching and writing career has been punctuated with service as the first Executive Director of the Federation of B.C. Writers, as Literary Coordinator for the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, and as Coordinator of Literary Arts at the Banff Arts Centre.
A veteran community activist, he was elected Municipal Councillor in North Vancouver for three years following campaigns on behalf of Pacific Coast watershed, First Nations land-claim and international human rights issues. He continues to write there as a political columnist. Carolan earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. at Bond University, Queensland, and has taught English and Creative Writing at University of the Fraser Valley since 2001.
The International Editor of the Pacific Rim Review of Books, Dr. Carolan’s publications have appeared in five languages and include many books of poetry, fiction, memoir, translations, anthologies, writing on East-West spiritual life, and a broad range of nonfiction articles and interviews. In 2003 he received the Spirituality & Health Journal Best Books of the Year citation for his Return to Stillness: Twenty Years With a Tai Chi Master (NY: Marlowe), an account of his 20 years as a student with Master Ng Ching-Por in Vancouver.
His current works are The Lotus Singers: Short Stories from Contemporary South Asia, and a companion volume Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific (Boston: Cheng & Tsui, 2011 & 2009). Other books include The Pillow Book of Dr. Jazz; Giving Up Poetry: With Allen Ginsberg At Hollyhock; and Making Waves: Reading B.C. and Pacific Northwest Literature.
The Lotus Singers: Contemporary Stories from South Asia, Ed. Boston: Cheng & Tsui, 2011 - Making Waves: Reading B.C. and Pacific Northwest Literature, Ed. Vancouver:
UFV-Anvil Press, 2010
Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific, Ed. Boston: Cheng &
The Pillow Book of Dr Jazz, Ekstasis, 2006
Down in the Valley: Contemporary Writing of the Fraser Valley, Ekstasis, 2004
Return To Stillness: Twenty Years With a Tai Chi Master, Marlowe, NY: 2003
Celtic Highway: Poems & Texts, Ekstasis Press, 2002
Giving Up Poetry: With Allen Ginsberg At Hollyhock, Banff Centre Press, 2001
The Supreme Way: Inner Teachings of the Southern Mountain Tao, co-trans.
with Du Liang.Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1997.
A Verse map of Vancouver, ed. George McWhirther. Vancouver; Anvil Press
Rocksalt: 108 P.C. Poets, eds. M. Fertig & H. Rhensich. Ganges: Mother Tongue, 2008
Imagining British Columbia: Creative Nonfiction from the Federation of B.C.
Writers, Daniel Francis, ed. Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2008
Not Turning Away: The Practice of Engaged Buddhism, Boston: Shambhala, 2004
A Lifetime of Peace: Essential Writings On Thich Nhat Hanh, New York: Marlowe, 2003
Nanao or Never: Festschrift for Nanao Sakaki, Nobleboro, ME: Blackberry Books, 2000
Presenter, “Group of Seven Master Frederick Varley: the B.C. Wilderness Years”. B.C. Elders Council for Parks. Heritage Centre, Mt. Seymour Provincial Park, 2011.
Presenter, “On Creative Non-Fiction”. At Applying Technology to Your Writing: the 89th Annual Conference of the Canadian Authors Association. Victoria, B.C. 2010.
Presenter, “Ecosystems, Mandalas and Watersheds: The Dharma Citizenship of Gary Snyder”. At Tools of the Sacred, Techniques of the Secular: Awakening, Epiphany and Doubt in Contemporary English Language Poetry. Université Libre de Bruxelles. 2010
Moderator, “Politics and the Page.” Banff-Calgary Writers Festival. With Anita Rau Badami, Rewi Hage, Yusef Saadi. The Banff Centre, Alberta. 2006.
Doctoral Research Presentation: “Reconceptualizing Ideas of Citizenship, Community and Commonwealth: Some East-West Intercultural Models for the Global Age.” Dept. of International Relations, Bond University, Queensland, Australia. 2005.
Presenter: “Translators of Literature: The Natural Advantage.” Creative Writing Master’s Series. With Robert Bringhurst and Genni Gunn. University of British Columbia, Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry and journal Educational Insights. 2004.
The Music of the Stones, libretto, with composer M. Armanini & Vancouver Classical Chinese Ensemble. Vancouver Arts Council commission, Jan. 1992. CD production, 2000.
Essays, Reviews, and Commentary
Shambhala Sun, The Bloomsbury Review, Choice, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Far Eastern Economic Review, Kyoto Journal, Modern Chinese Literature, Manoa, New Asia Review, Everwild, Nguoi Viet, Chinese Pen, Contemporary South Asia, Printed Matter Tokyo, Common Ground, TV Week, Western Living, Travelscene, The Columbian, Arts West, Performing Arts Canada, Influential Business, Westworld, New Ideas In Psychology, Georgia Straight, Arts Alive, Event, Outlook, North Shore News, Canadian Composer, Transit, Turning Wheel, Beat Scene, Shared Vision, etc
What the Critics Say
The Lotus Singers
“Let me do some numbers for you. The Lotus Singers gives us nearly 20 contemporary pieces of short fiction from a number South Asian nations mainly India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; stories either written in English or translated by various hands from the Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Bangla and Marathi...Their subjects are pressing: hunger, rape, feudal oppression, struggle among castes and social classes, the struggle of women to achieve a modicum of equality, civil war; overbearing matters, yes. But there's some incidental joy here, too, And there's the bliss that comes with understanding...No tour like a serious anthology such as this one to show you how a distant part of the world seems so foreign and yet so close to home."
~ Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, National Public Radio, Washington, USA
Making Waves: Reading Literture from British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest
“ As the planet goes through unprecedented climate chaos brought on by rampant materialism, the Newtonian-Cartesian ethos of reductionism, and the abandonment of the sacred, it will be the ethos represented well in many essays of Making Waves that survives. In the editor’s parlance, it is a “Dharma Citizenship” that must take root...Making Waves is a primer into the quickly maturing regional literature that can lead a new global culture deeply into this Third Millennium.”
~ Paul Nelson, Pacific Rim Review of Books
Giving Up Poetry: with Allen Ginsberg at Hollyhock
“Carolan’s compressed account brings the grandfather of Beat poetry and poetics vividly back to life in a portrait that is at once intimate and instructive. Writing not as a recording secretary but as one bent on capturing the essence of Ginsberg’s wide-ranging, deeply informed and illuminating discourse, he humanizes him as Plato did Socrates in The Symposium.”
~ John Moore, The Vancouver Sun
The Colors of Heaven/Rim of Fire
"Suggests the East will remain inscrutable only if we choose not to know it."
~ Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The stories have been scrupulously chosen...While none are directly about politics, all are about political facts which shape local lives."
~ Donald Richie, The Japan Times
"An enormously impressive and important book...Has its sights set on tyranny of any hue."
~ South China Morning Post
"Vintage should expand this interesting anthology into an annual series."
~ Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times
"An introduction to Asian-Pacific literature at its very best...fascinating, breathtaking reading."
~ Ryszard Kapuscinski
"An extraordinary collection of marvels. Enough to satisfy the most inquisitive and best-travelled reader."
~ Alberto Manguel
The Book of the Heart
“Destined to be a modern classic of Taoism. This lucid and subtle translation can be read again and again: for guidance, for simple, direct contemplation.”
~ Diane di Prima
Closing the Circle
“Clean, clear poems out of the New World -- Asia and western North America -- they embrace large space and fine detail."
~ Gary Snyder
"The Calgary Suite" (Celtic Highway)
“A Canadian breakthrough rare in the beauty of its presentation of contemporary images and scenes of life on the west coast."
~ Patricia Osoki, Victoria Times Columnist
Phone: 604-504-7441 x4198
Office: B376 Abbotsford
updated November 2012
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