Keynote speaker: Robert Bringhurst

This year, for the first time since the Vancouver conference in 2003, Robert Bringhurst will be among our keynote speakers. Those who have heard his sonorous renditions of Haida poetry or ancient Greek prose will know what an effective presence he can be; those who have read his books will know how intricately he interweaves ideas and the day- to-day world. For an introduction to the ATypI/Graphis book Language culture type, he invented a taxonomy of written language, which was later published on its own as the short book Solid Language. For each major speaking engagement, he makes a point of trying to create something new.

Robert Bringhurst

Robert Bringhurst is a major Canadian poet and one of the world’s foremost authorities on typographic history and practice. Unlike most typographers, however, he is also a lifelong student of Native North American languages and oral literatures.

His book The Elements of Typographic Style, now in its third edition, is the standard work in its field and has been translated into ten languages. His three-volume study of Haida oral culture, beginning with A Story as Sharp as a Knife (1999) won the coveted Edward Sapir Prize, awarded by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, and was chosen by the London Times in 2004 as Literary Editor’s Book of the Year. Margaret Atwood said of this work that “Bringhurst’s achievement is gigantic, as well as heroic. It’s one of those works that rearranges the inside of your head – a profound meditation on the nature of oral poetry and myth, and on the habits of thought and feeling that inform them.”

His Selected Poems, published in Canada in 2009, will be issued in a different form by Jonathan Cape, London, in 2010.

He has been a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry, Phillips Fund Fellow at the American Philosophical Society, and was chosen as the American Printing History Association’s individual laureate for 2009.

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