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Edward Zuk

Edward Zuk was born in Surrey, British Columbia, in 1971. He graduated with a B.A. in mathematics and English from the University of British Columbia in 1993, and he received his M.A. in English from the University of Toronto in 1994. After a brief hiatus from academic life, he completed a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of British Columbia in 2001, having written his dissertation on uses of the sonnet by American poets of the first half of the 20th century. He now lives and teaches in Surrey, B.C.

Formal poetry has been his first love since his high school days, and Shakespeare, Coleridge, and Yeats remain his most important influences. His translations, dramatic monologues, and lyrics have appeared in magazines such as The Queen’s Quarterly, The Lyric, The Formalist, and The Edge City Review. Being half-Japanese, he has pursued haiku poetry to explore that part of his heritage. He has served as the British Columbia coordinator for Haiku Canada, and his haiku and reviews often appear in journals such as Modern Haiku and Frogpond. Four of his haiku have been included in the Red Moon series of anthologies.

On a Photograph of Leo Tolstoy
He stands there in his peasant clothes. The eyes
Stare directly at the camera and pierce
Whatever eyes are brave enough to dare
Regard him now. He is an admonition.
The brow is furrowed with a scowl; the lips
Are grim and pursed; the beard down to his chest
Flows like a patriarch's. The dense shoulders
Lean forward while the hands, those earth-soaked hands
Which Gorky thought were capable
Of everything, flit nervously by his waist,
And I recall a soldier, gambler, rake,
Husband, father, second Homer,
Christian, prophet, saint.
The body seems to sway from standing still.
The background is a blank white sky, and still
His words resound from the air around him:
"You must live your life sincerely,
You must live your life with love."

Published by The Queen’s Quarterly in 1996


The ocean god reclines, his passion done
For now, and rolls his eyes to coolly toss
A glance at where the sobbing has begun.
Medusa, priestess, desperate in her loss 
Of childhood, honour, and virginity,
Lies on the temple floor, her lush hair spread
To hide her face. The god sighs, absently
Decides to leave, but is struck fast instead

As the girl's tears change to fiery screams.
He marvels as her hair begins to writhe
And hiss, skin glistens into scales, her lithe
Body becoming beast.
                               This is a dream,
He thinks, until her howling claws the air,
Echoing like a jackal's in its lair.

Published by The Formalist in 1999

Epitaph for a Professor

Reader, to our regret here lies
A learnèd man who was not wise.
His studies served only to weary
His students with postmodern theory
And spread some ideologies
Much as a dog scatters its fleas.
He'd squandered fifty years and more
When Death came rapping at his door.

Published by The Formalist in 2003

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