Dayne Ogilvie Prize

I’m very honoured to have won the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize, awarded each year by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Thank you to the Writers’ Trust and congrats to the two recipients of honours of distinction, Vivek Shraya and Casey Plett, both writers whose work I’ve read and enjoyed.

Jury citation:

With assured debuts in two genres, Alex Leslie melds remarkable acuity of vision with a refreshing eagerness for formal experimentation. She’s at once a writer’s writer and an accomplished teller of tales. People Who Disappear, her artfully gritty and ultimately uplifting story collection, presents fresh and nuanced portraits of West Coast living far from the affluence and rhythms of the city. In rendering the inhabitants of The things I heard about you’s enticing prose poems – solitary ferry rider, outlier schoolgirl, river’s edge creature, and pariah scrounger – Leslie displays a tremendous gift for compassion that’s equal to a talent for technique.

Reading coming up

I have a reading come up in a couple weeks. I’m reading with Robin Susanto, a local poet, at the poetry reading series at Cottage Bistro on Main St, Twisted Poets presented by the Pandora’s Collective. There’s an open mic following the readings, so if you’d like to be part of the open mic show up at 7 and put your name down.

June 10
Cottage Bistro, 4468 Main St, Vancouver, BC
Time: 7:00 – 9:30 pm

Phoems = pho + poems

A little while ago Rachel Rose, Vancouver’s new poet laureate, put out the word that she would like proposals for food related poetry events — readings, workshops, whatever. This is part of Vancouver-wide programming she’s doing during her…laureateship? My dear poet-friend Adrienne Gruber asked me if I would like to bring our special method of workshopping our poems to the public. Of course I said yes.

For four years, Adrienne and I have workshopped our poems over Vietnamese pho. We have done this through multiple chapbooks and book launches between the two of us, and one baby, Adrienne’s daughter Quintana, who is growing into a healthy pho-lover. Sharing a meal is the best way to discuss and process our writing together and pho restaurants do not care how long you stay. Therefore PHOEMS was born.

Pho + poems = phoems.

On Sunday April 26th at noon, we will be hosting a public PHOEM workshop — the world’s FIRST phoem workshop, yes that’s right — thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the League of Canadian Poets. The pho is on the house and it is first come first served (literally!), with photicipation capped at 10. Location TBA. If you would like to use your noodle and soup up your poems, please join us! All are welcome, especially those who can tolerate my sense of humour. For all info on how it will all boil down (sorry) and how to register, email Adrienne at

The Facebook event is here. 

Also this event is free! Register soon — it is likely to fill up quickly! If you have never workshopped your writing before, this could be a good place to start.

Here’s a bit about Adrienne: Adrienne Gruber is the author of the full-length poetry collection This is the Nightmare (Thistledown Press) and three chapbooks, Mimic (Leaf Press), Everything Water (Cactus Press), and Intertidal Zones (Jack Pine Press). Mimic was awarded the 2012 BpNichol Chapbook award. Her second full-length poetry collection, Buoyancy Control, is forthcoming with BookThug in 2016.


What kind of soup is this? BABY soup!!!!

Note: Phoem workshop is now full!

A review from The Peak

Thanks to poet Nav Nagra for this review of my book in The Peak, the newspaper at Simon Fraser University.

Leslie’s The things I heard about you is a masterful exploration of the blurred lines between writer and reader. Leslie explores social issues with enlightening subtlety that will leave you reeling.

Merging genres effortlessly, Leslie explores the art of borrowing, and the erasure of prose into poetry. One might conclude that Leslie simply creates prose poetry only to narrow it down to the barest, most intimate essentials.

You can read the whole review here.

Two reviews

Thank you Douglas Luman for this wonderful response to my book at The Found Poetry Review. It is so gratifying to read such a thoughtful, thorough response.

The form of the book, the feeling and space that it inhabits, is reminiscent of Kaia Sand’s Remember to Wave, though the subject matter and arrangement of the books are as different as they are alike. The immediate ability draw the reader in is palpable, and does not let go fully, even if the final speaker of the book attempts to disengage. The potential offered by such a use of self-erasure certainly demonstrates that the space occupied by the second hand, one often vacated or ill-attended by poetry, can be a powerful place in which to meet a reader and establish relationships that, even if they aren’t exactly us, offer the possibility of seeing ourselves in them.

You can read the whole review here.  Michael Dennis has a response to the book up on his blog, writing that the book is “magnificent and intriguing stuff.”

It is a bit like watching grapes become wine, wine become brandy.  True alchemy.

You can read it here.

Sometimes I leave my cave and go out in public

I have a few public readings coming up in the next while. I’m reading on February 6th to support the land defenders on Burnaby Mountain against the Kinder Morgan pipeline development. I am reading with several poets and activists, including Audrey Siegl from Musqueam and poet Stephen Collis, one of the profs sued in the legal case. The event is at the Biltmore at 8 PM. All funds go to the land defenders. There are also bands. Here is the Facebook page.

On February 18th I’m reading at SFU (Simon Fraser University) with Roy Miki, a poet and thinker I respect very much. Roy was a key figure in the Japanese Redress movement’s social justice work for the Japanese Canadian Community. I am honoured to be reading with Roy. All details about the reading are here.

On February 24th I’m reading at REVERB reading series. I’ll post the details for that soon. And looking ahead, in late April I’m reading at the North Shore Writers Festival.

Then I go back into my cave and eat Doritos. True story.

Review & interview in Matrix

Thank you to poet Fazeela Jiwa for her review and interview about my book in Montreal’s Matrix Magazine. 

From Fazeela’s review: “It would seem fitting to describe these iterations as Russian dolls, except that analogy implies that each version looks like the original, only smaller. Instead, Leslie’s distillation and rearrangement of the original words opens new worlds within the same story. Subsequent versions may be smaller but despite this, the startling re-combinations of words and phrases explore the creases of the first iteration.”

Creases. I love that.

You can read the whole thing here.

Thank you Fazeela!