Richard Lemm - Biography

Richard Lemm's poetry often reflects his affinity for the art of autobiography. Some experiences are articulated in Prelude to the Bacchanal (1990) as he poeticizes the death of his father and his mother's battle with mental illness. Lemm was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1946, but moved to Canada in 1967 when his application to gain conscientious objector status was rejected by the Washington State Board of Appeals. The topic of emigration and his criticism of military force infiltrates Prelude to the Bacchanal, Four Ways of Dealing With Bullies (2000), and is detailed in an essay included in The New Refugees: American Voices in Canada, Ed. Jim Christy (1972). Lemm studied at San Francisco State University, Simon Fraser University, Queen’s University (M.A.), and earned a Ph.D. from Dalhousie University. A professor at the University of Prince Edward Island specializing in Canadian and Postcolonial Literatures, Lemm heads the Creative Writing program there, teaching life writing and autobiography. Aside from four collections of poetry, including Burning House (2010), he also has written a biography entitled Milton Acorn: In Love and Anger (1999). His poetry has been published in ARC, Cormorant, Event, The Fiddlehead, The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, Pottersfield Portfolio, and Proserpine. He has won the Canadian Authors’ Association Award, the CBC Radio Literary Competition, League of Canadian Poets National Poetry Contest and ARC Magazine’s National Poem of the Year Contest. Along with working as a remedial therapist, teacher, journalist, and art gallery coordinator, he has been head of poetry at The Banff Centre for the Arts, editor of Ragweed Press in Charlottetown, president of the League of Canadian Poets, and Creators’ Co-chair of the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency. He has also been a writer-in-residence at various schools and libraries.