As a child in Nigeria, Daniela Elza and her sister would hold competitions to see who could write the most poems in a day.
That love of poetry turned into a passion for words that never left the poet and academic, an example of which is The Weight of Dew, a collection of poems she reads from Friday at 4 p.m. at The Art We Are.
The Weight of Dew is broken into three parts, Elza said during a phone interview from Vancouver. The first explores life in the city of Vancouver, where she, her husband and two children reside in a housing co-op.
The middle section is about the family’s travels in the Interior of B.C. after immigrating to Canada in 1999. She said it explores the trip through her eyes and the eyes of her two boys, who were young at the time.
She said the book ends on a philosophical and ethereal note, playing with language and life and the impossibility of conveying thoughts through words.
“In some ways it takes the form of a journey,” Elza said of the collection.
A lifelong academic and wordsmith, Elza let language lead her from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, where she taught English as part of an exchange program, then to the U.S., where she competed a masters degree in English as a second language.
She recently completed a doctorate in the philosophy of education at Simon Fraser University, but has never turned her back on poetry.
Her first collection, The Book of It, was self published last year as her graduation thesis and explored the nature of creativity, said Elza.
Elza enjoys playing with words and draws much of her inspiration from her boys’ perspectives. She said children are the true poets, seeing everything for the first time and describing it as such.
“The poet’s job is to look at the world differently and uniquely, but that is the only option children have,” she said. “We can learn a lot by appreciating the way they see the world.”
To learn more about Elza’s work visit http://www.strangeplaces.livingcode.org.