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Roy Kiyooka

Roy Kenzie Kiyooka was a second generation Japanese Canadian. He was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1926, grew up in Calgary, Alberta and died in Vancouver, B.C. in 1994. He was a poet and also one of Canada’s first “multi-disciplinary” artists, and the subject of several important exhibitions during his lifetime. His visual artwork included paintings, sculpture, film, and photographs.  Kiyooka studied at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now named the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and Art). During his career he taught at a number of universities including the University of British Columbia. Kiyooka was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1978.


The Artist & the Moose: A Fable of Forget

Edited and with an afterword by Roy Miki.
Burnaby, B.C.: LINEbooks, 2009.
PS8521 .I86 A78 2009

Publisher’s Synopsis

Often zany and wildly humourous, The Artist & the Moose features a narrator who is commissioned by the federal government to come up with a multicultural aesthetic for the 21st century. The answer, he thinks, resides in the big mystery that surrounds artist Tom Thomson. … While recognizing Thomson’s artistic legacy, Kiyooka’s fable offers a compelling critique of Canadian cultural nationalism and its violent appropriation of native land and culture, a long process of colonization that exiled the Moose from the very homely spaces once his own.


The Fontainebleau Dream Machine: 18 Frames From a Book of Rhetoric

Toronto: Coach House Press, 1977.
PS8521 .I86 F6


Kyoto Airs

Vancouver: Periwinkle Press, 1964.


Nevertheless These Eyes

Toronto: Printed at the Coach House Press, 1967.
Limited ed. of 500 copies.


Of Seasonal Pleasures and Small Hindrances

Vancouver: BC Monthly, 1978.


Pacific Windows: Collected Poems of Roy K. Kiyooka

Edited by Roy Miki.
Burnaby, B.C.: Talonbooks, 1997.
PS8521 .I86 P32 1997

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

Kiyooka’s reputation as an artist has long been recognized. Such is not the case with his writing and poetry. For Kiyooka, the poetic text was not a supplement to his visual art, but a medium that he explored in the same spirit and imagination as that of his other work. This publication brings together all of his most important poetic works, including many that have only been available in very limited editions.

Awards and Honours

1998 Association for Asian American Studies Outstanding Book Award in Poetry (Winner)


Pear Tree Pomes [sic]

Illustrated by David Bolduc.
Toronto: Coach House Press, 1987.

Awards and Honours

1987 Governor General’s Literary Awards–English Poetry (Nominated)


Stoned Gloves

Toronto: Coach House Press, 1971?


Transcanada Letters

Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1975.
PS8521 .I86 T7

Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2004.

Publisher’s Synopsis (NeWest from its website)

A unique post modern collection of personal meditations and intimate dialogues with close friends. With an introduction by Glen Lowry this new addition, combined with Pacific Letters set for release in Fall 2004, shows Kiyooka’ s process of writing and his views on the cultural industries in Canada.

Non-fiction (Biography)

Mothertalk: Life Stories of Mary Kiyoshi Kiyooka

Edited by Daphne Marlatt.
Edmonton: NeWest Press, 1997.
FC106 .J3 K59 1997

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

In 1993 Mary Kiyooka sat with her son Roy Kiyooka, one of Canada’s most important avant-garde painters, and a tape recorder and in her native Japanese shared her memories with him—her childhood in Japan, her arrival as a married woman in Canada, and her family’s experience in Alberta during the Japanese internment period.

Non-fiction (Biography)

Pacific Rim Letters

Edited by Smaro Kambourelli.
Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2004.
PS8521 .I86 A4 2005

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

This never before published work is a travel diary, cultural manifesto and unique post-modern collection of personal meditations…. [It] engages the reader with Kiyooka’s intimate voice speaking through his letters to family, as well as friends, many of them writers and visual artists.

Anthology (Portrait)

“Roy Kiyooka, Vancouver 1973.” In Tata, Sam. A Certain Identity: 50 Portraits by Sam Tata. Ottawa: Deneau, 1983, 53.

TR681 .A7 T38 1983

Anthology (Portrait)

“Roy Kiyooka.” In Tata, Sam. Portraits of Canadian Writers, edited by John Metcalf. Erin, Ont.: Porcupine’s Quill, 1991, 82-[83].

Special Collections TR681 .A85 T3 1991

Selected Criticism and Interpretation

O’Brian, John, Naomi Sawada, and Scott Watson, eds.  All Amazed for Roy Kiyooka. Vancouver, B.C.: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002.
N6549 .K5 R69 2002

Developed from the Roy Kiyooka Conference held at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (Vancouver, B.C.) October 1-2, 1999. Contributors include Roy Miki, Henry Tsang, Sheryl Conkelton and Scott Toguri McFarlane.

Lowry, Glen Albert.  “After the End/s: CanLit and the Unravelling of Nation, “Race,” and Space in the Writing of Michael Ondaatje, Daphne Marlatt, and Roy Kiyooka.”  Ph.D. diss., Simon Fraser University, 2001.
Available from Proquest Dissertations and Theses

Miki, Roy. “The Difference that Difference Makes: Nation Formation, Asian Canadian, and the Unravelling Case of Roy K. Kiyooka.” Chap. in his In Flux: Transnational Shifts in Asian Canadian Writing. Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2011, 1-30.
PS8089.5 .A8 M55 2011

Saul, Joanne. “Routes and Roots: The Auto/biographical Voices of Mothertalk.” Chap. in her Writing the Roaming Subject: The Biotext in Canadian Literature. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.
PS8119 .S28 2006


Publisher Talonbooks

Publisher NeWest Press

Catriona Jeffries Gallery website

Roy Kiyooka Fonds at Simon Fraser University Library