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Poet Anna Yin weaves international tapestry with Mirrors & Windows

An Evening with Anna Yin, co-facilitated by  journalist and poet Yafang Shi, will take place over Zoom on Thursday,  Sept. 30, and be held in both English and Mandarin
2021-09-25 Poet Anna Yin
Poet Anna Yin

As a new Canadian, Anna Yin first set pen to paper to improve her English.

That was her primary objective, but it is a journey  that has been fruitful. Not only did she achieve her mission, she aced  it – and now the City of Mississauga’s very first poet laureate is set  to bring her latest collection of poetry, Mirrors & Windows,  virtually to the Aurora Public Library.

An Evening with Anna Yin, co-facilitated by  journalist and poet Yafang Shi, will take place over Zoom on Thursday,  Sept. 30, and be held in both English and Mandarin.

Translated and edited by Yin, Mirrors &  Windows is a collection featuring the works of nearly 60 individual  poets whose works have been selected to showcase “challenges and  connectivity.” It asks the reader to think about how they see  themselves.

This is topic very close to Yin’s heart.

After coming to Canada from China in 1999, her love of poetry and the written word first began to take hold in 2003.

“I always thought poetry saved me because, at that  time, when I started writing poetry in English, it not only improved my  language but it helped me realize just how depressed I was,” she says.  “I was just so busy as an IT professional, a mother, and a wife, I felt  like I was very trapped but I didn’t know. Every night, I read a story  to myself so I could improve my English – including bedtime stories like  The Emperor’s New Clothes. After I read that story to my son, I  couldn’t sleep because I felt the child in the story asked me who I am.  Starting at that point, I knew I wasn’t happy because I felt lost. I  didn’t know who I am.”

It was through writing that she rediscovered herself, finding inspiration in the world around her – both good and bad.

One piece of poetry was inspired by the plight of a  young Chinese girl who went missing and whose body was subsequently  found in Mississauga. In the intervening months between her  disappearance and the tragic discovery, Ms. Yin says she held out hope  for the best but, when the best wasn’t realized, she penned “No More  Weeping,” a call for peace and hope that ultimately caught the attention  of both the CBC and the City of Mississauga.

“My writing is not only for myself, but I hope it can  help others,” she says. “After I started writing poetry, I found my  purpose and meaning. I became happy. I realized I could use my poetry to  tap unlimited imagination, to help me feel and experience a rich life. I  want to share my story and poetry to help others. Mirrors & Windows  shows it is not through others that I see myself.”

Anna Yin served as Mississauga’s first poet laureate  and was Ontario’s representative to the League of Canadian Poets.  Mirrors & Windows is her sixth book of poetry, and her second of  poetry translations.

For more information on An Evening with Anna Yin, including how to register for free tickets, visit

Brock Weir is a federally funded Local Journalism Initiative reporter at The Auroran