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Drama Women Authors

Shadow Catch

by (author) Daphne Marlatt

Initial publish date
May 2023
Women Authors, Canadian, Women Authors, LGBT, Opera
Recommended Age
15 to 18
Recommended Grade
10 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Noh-influenced libretto by renowned Canadian poet Daphne Marlatt


The Noh-influenced libretto of Shadow Catch recounts the dreams – or are they dreams? – of the Runaway, a teenage boy who ends up one night in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Here four troubled spirits from the park’s past appear to him: the Spirit of the Maple Tree from K’emk’emeláy̓ whose grove was decimated by loggers, a member of the brilliant Asahi baseball team whose players were sent off to Japanese internment camps, the keeper of a 1920s brothel who is haunted by the tragic death of one of "her" women, and a roughneck policeman from the 1930s who gave in to corruption. This is a story not only about characters from Vancouver’s historical and cultural past, but about the journey and transformation that must take place in order to confront one’s greatest fears and regrets.


Each of the four acts in this sparse, poetic libretto were set to music by composers Dorothy Chang, Benton Roark, Jennifer Butler, and Farshid Samandari. Replete with contextual material, this book includes brief histories of species interconnectedness in the park, the Asahi baseball team, Vancouver's early red-light district, and the Battle of Ballantyne Pier.

About the author

Daphne Marlatt was born in Melbourne in 1941 and spent much of her childhood in Malaysia before emigrating to Canada in 1951. Marlatt was at the centre of the West Coast poetry movement of the 1960s, studying at the University of British Columbia and with many of Donald Allen’s New American Poets, most notably Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan. Much of her postmodernist writing would be attuned to the adjustments, struggles, and accomplishments of immigrants. While Marlatt attended UBC (1960–1964), her literary associations with the loosely affiliated Tish group encouraged her non-conformist approach to language and etymological explorations.She was a co-founding editor of two literary magazines: periodics and Tessera. She co-edited West Coast Review, Island, Capilano Review, and TISH. In 2004 she was appointed as the first writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University in three decades. She directed the Fiction stream of the Banff Writing Studio from 2010 – 2012.Her early writing includes prose narratives on the Strathcona neighborhood of Vancouver and of the former Japanese-Canadian fishing village of Steveston, and several poetry books. Selected Writing: Network is a collection of her prose and poetry, published in 1980. More of her writing can be found in The New Long Poem Anthology: 2nd Edition (2000), edited by Sharon Thesen. Daphne Marlatt’s This Tremor Love Is (2001) is a memory book – an album of love poems spanning twenty-five years, from her first writing of what was to become the opening section, A Lost Book, to later, more recent sequences.Marlatt has been a featured poet on the Heart of a Poet series, produced in conjunction with Bravo! TV. Her recent work includes The Gull, the first Canadian play staged in the ancient, ritualized tradition of Japanese noh theatre, and winner of the prestigious 2008 Uchimura Naoya Prize.In 2006, Marlatt was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service to Canadian culture. In 2009, she was awarded the Dorothy Livesay Prize for Poetry, for her innovative long poem The Given, and in 2012 she received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.

Daphne Marlatt's profile page

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