Carolyn Zonailo is a poet, editor,
writer and consultant. She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada. Zonailo attended Scripps College, in Claremont, California;
and the University of Rochester, New York, where she published
poems in student literary magazines and studied with classics
scholar, Norman O. Brown (author of Love's Body and
Life Against Death). She received her B.A. in literature
from the University of British Columbia (1971) and her M.A. from
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia (1980). Her
thesis paper, "The Beast in the Jungle: The Observer's
Art" was published in Dragonflies: Studies in Imaginal
Psychology, University of Dallas, Texas (1980); it is listed
in Jungian Literary Criticism by Jos van Meurs, SIGO
Press, Boston (1988, 1991).
While still an undergraduate, she
married the son of Dr John Weir Perry, eminent Jungian psychoanalyst
and author. Throughout her life, Zonailo has maintained an interest
in mythology, archetypal studies, and Jungian psychology. Her
poetic vision encompasses a personal and feminist viewpoint along with
that of a mythic and universal perspective.
published poetry and essays in literary magazines, periodicals, books
and anthologies, as well as giving poetry readings across Canada
and in the United States. In 1977 she founded Caitlin Press, in
Vancouver, Canada. Zonailo was managing editor of the press until
1991, when it was sold and relocated to the northern interior
of British Columbia.
Her first full-length book of poems,
The Wide Arable Land, was published in 1981. She has
published eleven books of poetry and seven poetry chapbooks. She
is currently completing a memoir about her childhood and Doukhobor
heritage, entitled The Land of Motionless Childhood and
a book of essays, The Letter Z: On Women & Writing.
Her poetry books include The Taste of Giving: New
& Selected Poems (1990); Memory House (1995);
The Goddess in the Garden (2002); The Holy Hours
(2004); the moon with mars in her arms (2006); and O Tongue, O Bone (forthcoming 2010).
From 1992 to 2008, Zonailo has lived in
Montreal, Canada. She currently divides her time between Vancouver, Montreal, and New York City. From 1992-1999
she collaborated with graphic artist and poet Ed Varney producing
broadsides, pamphlets and chapbooks with The Poem Factory/Usine
de Poème. In 2000, she and her husband Stephen Morrissey founded
Coracle Press in Montreal.
During the 1980s and '90s, Zonailo served on the executives of provincial and national literary organizations, including the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers' Union of Canada. She helped to found the Federation of B.C. Writers as well as the B.C. Book Prizes, and served on the Board of Directors of QSPELL (Quebec). Zonailo has taught creative writing and worked as a time-management/life-planning consultant. She works as a freelance editor and consultant.
Zonailo's father was born in the interior of British Columbia; her mother was born in Scotland and came to Canada with her family at age four. Zonailo's paternal great-grandparents were among the 7,500 Doukhobors who left Georgia, Russia, in 1899 to relocate in Canada, under the sponsorship of the Russian writer Count Leo Tolstoy.
Zonailo is primarily a lyric poet, although she has also written long poems, linked lyric poems, narrative and meditative poetry. Her work has been set to music, recorded and broadcast. Jazz pianist Al Neil set her long poem "Journey to the Sibyl" to music and recorded it with The Music Gallery (Toronto, 1981). Multi-media musician, Kevin Godsoe, recorded Zonailo's poetry along with his music on the tape, The Taste of Giving (Vancouver, 1991). Classical composer Mark Armanini has written music and choral arrangements for several of Zonailo's shorter lyric poems, which have been performed in concert and broadcast venues since the 1980s to the present. In 2005, jazz singer and Juno-award nominee Kate Hammett-Vaughn recorded the CD Conspiracy for Art Songs which included lyrics by Zonailo.
Zonailo's literary papers are archived in Special Collections and Rare Books at the W.A.C. Bennett Library, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada. Her collection of poetry, The Goddess in the Garden (Ekstasis Editions) was a finalist for the A.M. Klein Poetry Award, 2003.