Vancouver For Beginners

In Vancouver for Beginners, the nostalgia of place is dissected through the mapping of a city where readers are led past surrealist development proposals, post-apocalyptic postcards, childhood landmarks long gone, and a developer who paces at the city’s edge, shoring it up with aquariums.

In these poems you will traverse a city lined with rivers, not streets. Memory traps and tourist traps reveal themselves, and the ocean glints, elusive, in the background. Here there are many Vancouvers and no Vancouver, a city meant for elsewhere after the flood has swept through. This place of the living and the dead has been rewritten: forests are subsumed by parks, buildings sink and morph, and the climate has changed.

Vancouver for Beginners is a ghost story, an elegy, and a love song for a city that is both indecipherable and a microcosm of a world on fire.


Alex Leslie

Alex Leslie was born and lives in Vancouver. She is the author of two short story collections, We All Need to Eat, a finalist for the 2019 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and People Who Disappear, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction and a 2013 ReLit Award. She is also the author of the prose poetry collection, The things I heard about you (2014), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroetsch Award for innovative poetry. Alex’s writing has been included in the Journey Prize Anthology, The Best of Canadian Poetry in English, and in a special issue of Granta spotlighting Canadian writing, co-edited by Madeleine Thien and Catherine Leroux. She has received a CBC Literary Award, a Gold National Magazine Award, and the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers.

Chapter Title Contents Contributors Pages Year Price


Rainforest Paradise – Mouth of The Fraser River – Forest Fire Season – Barter – Inlet Echocardiogram – Lovers –Postcard Home From English Bay – Marpole … 17 $1.70


Development Application #1 – The Aquarium Collector – Morph – Pacific Broadcast – Two –The Aquarium Collector #2 – Development Application #3: Forest of … 17 $1.70


Development Application #6 – The Bridges – How to Grow up in an Earthquake Zone – The Postcard Artist – Sighting on Davie Street – Seasonal Affective Disorder … 27 $2.70


Wallpaper – Clock – November Tourniquet – The Fishermen – Gateway to the Pacific – Surveyor’s Map – Cities and the Dead – Monsoon Season Starts in … 23 $2.30


Alias 3 $0.30