Sharon Thesen

Sharon Thesen, B.A., M.A.
Professor Emerita, Creative Writing
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan

Sharon Thesen is a poet, editor, and writer who was based in Vancouver before moving to the Okanagan, where she now lives in Lake Country   After receiving her MA degree from Simon Fraser University in 1975, she taught English and Creative Writing at Capilano College (now University) in North Vancouver, and joined UBC Okanagan’s ’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies as professor of Creative Writing in 2005.  She is the author of nine books of poetry, the most recent, Oyama Pink Shale, The Good Bacteria, and A Pair of Scissors ( ). Her books include a selected poems, News & Smoke, and several titles from the 1980’s and 90’s from Coach House Press in Toronto.


Sharon has been involved in the Canadian and Vancouver poetry scene for many years. As an editor, she has published two editions of The New Long Poem Anthology, a Governor-General’s Award-winning edition of Phyllis Webb’s poetry (The Vision Tree), and, from 2001 to 2005, the literary and visual arts magazine The Capilano Review. She co-edited, with Ralph Maud, a correspondence between the American poet Charles Olson and book designer Frances Boldereff (Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff: A Modern Corresepondence) (Wesleyan University Press, 1999) and After Completion: The Later Letters (Talon Books, 2014).  For both editions, she wrote extensive introductions.  Most recently, she wrote the introduction to George Stanley’s selected poems, North of California St. (New Star, 2014).   She also co-edited, with Nancy Holmes, Lake: a journal of arts and environment, which was housed in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan.


Sharon’s book of poems A Pair of Scissors won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award.  The Good Bacteria was a finalist for the Governor-General’s Award, the ReLit Award, and the Dorothy Livesay Prize; Oyama Pink Shale was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Prize.  Two earlier books also were finalists for the Governor-General’s Award, and in 2002 Sharon was a member of the jury, along with American poet Sharon Olds and Irish poet Michael Longley, for the prestigious Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry.


Sharon has published essays in The Vancouver Review, Dooney’s Café (online), Brick magazine, and in Untying the Apron: Daughters Remember Mothers of the Fifties.  Interviews have been published in a number of anthologies and magazines, including an interview by Daphne Marlatt in “The Sharon Thesen Issue” of The Capilano Review (3:5), edited by Jenny Penberthy.


In addition to teaching literature and creative writing at Capilano College, Sharon has taught poetry workshops at a number of summer writing colonies, including the Banff Writing Studio, Echo Valley, the Whitehorse Poetry Festival, St. Peter’s College, and the Spoke Literary Festival in Vernon, and for many years has informally mentored younger poets and writers.  She has been asked to write endorsements and reviews of scores of books of poetry and prose.  Over the years, she has organized dozens of readings and festschrifts to honour and promote the work of other poets.  She has given readings at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, the Vancouver Writers and Readers Festival, the Blue Metropolis Writers’ Festival in Montreal, the New Zealand Writers’ Festival in Wellington, NZ, and the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France.  

Sharon’s research interests are modern, postmodern, and contemporary poetry and poetics, the long poem, lyric essay and philosophical autobiography, and poetic imagination as a way of thinking.  She is spiritually engaged with Christian mysticism and Franciscan spirituality, and is a student of Iyengar yoga.   She is married to Paul Mier, a mountain biker and retired political science professor, and has one son and one stepson and a young grand-daughter.



Published Works

The Receiver, Vancouver, 2017.

From New Star Books Ltd.



Oyama Pink Shale. Toronto: Anansi, 2011.

From Toledo. (Chapbook). Prince George, BC: Gorse Press, 2007.

Scrap Book. (Chapbook). Edmonton, AB: The Olive Reading Series Collective, 2006.

Weeping Willow. (Chapbook). Vancouver: Nomados, 2005.

The Good Bacteria. Toronto: Anansi, 2005.

A Pair of Scissors. Toronto: Anansi, 2000.

News & Smoke, Selected Poems. Vancouver: Talon, 1999.

Aurora. Toronto: Coach House, 1995.

Po-It- Tree: A Selection of Poems and Commentary. (Chapbook). Burnaby: SFU, 1992

The Pangs of Sunday, Selected Poems. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1990.

The Beginning of the Long Dash. Toronto: Coach House, 1987.

Confabulations: Poems for Malcolm Lowry. Lantzville, BC: Oolichan, 1984.

Holding the Pose. Toronto: Coach House, 1983.

Artemis Hates Romance. Toronto: Coach House, 1981.