KAGAN GOH

Author & Poet

"The only thing that keeps me
going through this eclipse
is the memory of having
once kissed Eternity's lips."

PUBLICATIONS

Surviving-Samsara-cover.jpg

SURVIVING SAMSARA

SOLAMENTE EN SAN MIGUEL Volume III

WHO LET IN THE SKY?

SARE

OPEN MINDS QUARTERLY

STRIKE THE WOK

ALIVE AT THE CENTER

EMERGE 2010

HENRY CHOW & other stories

MISFIT LIT

EMERGE 2012

BIO

Kagan Goh was born in Singapore in 1969. After years of traveling, he emigrated with his family to Canada in 1986 and now resides in Vancouver. He is a published author, spoken word poet, journalist, playwright, mental health advocate, and activist.

 

In 1993, at the age of twenty-three, Kagan Goh was diagnosed with manic depression. He was arrested by eight police officers for creating a disturbance in a church. The priest’s suspicions were aroused when Kagan innocently donated a stale loaf of bread to the collection tray, with the reasoning that the bread symbolized the body of Christ. The police report cited that he was a “drunk Native Indian who was on drugs” and claimed that he had “assaulted a police officer” (which was not true). The charges were eventually dropped when a psychiatrist diagnosed Kagan with manic depression, also known as bipolar mood disorder. Over a period of twelve years, he suffered several manic, psychotic, and depressive episodes and a dozen hospitalizations.

 

The son of Goh Poh Seng—a doctor and Singaporean literary pioneer, poet, novelist, and playwright—Kagan similarly discovered himself as a writer, returning time and again to the written word to express his emotions and experiences as he struggled with the exhilarating highs and frightening lows that characterize bipolar disorder.

Kagan has become a well-known spoken word artist, essayist, and poet—a respected and established voice in Vancouver’s literary community for more than two decades. He has performed at open mics, readings, festivals, and on radio and has published in numerous anthologies, periodicals, and magazines. In 2012, Select Books in Singapore published his poetic memoir, Who Let in the Sky?, which focused on his relationship with his esteemed father. Kagan is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a number of releases, including the award-winning Mind Fuck (1996) and Stolen Memories (2012); his films have been broadcast on national television and gained entry into respected film festivals across Canada.

 

Central to Kagan’s artistic work is a desire to humanize the struggles of those with mental health challenges and to fight stigmas that hold people back. His creative process involves critical self-reflection—not only as an artist who lives with a mental illness but as a spokesperson and mental health advocate and activist. While he uses his life experiences to shape and mold his stories, he is always conscious of the larger context and picture of how his stories touch the lives of people living with mental illness and their friends, families, and loved ones.

 

Today, more than twenty years since his diagnosis, Kagan has largely overcome the challenges of those painful early years. He strives for a life of stability, health, and wellness and has become a spokesperson, mentor, mental health advocate, activist, and role model. Born in Singapore, Kagan grew up in rural Newfoundland and urban British Columbia and continues to make his home in Vancouver, BC.

 
 

IN THE WORKS

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PIÑATA DE AMOR

 

IN THE PRESS

'KAGAN GOH'S BREAKOUT SEASON'

- Tom Sandborn,
VANCOUVER SUN

'MARK OF A MAVERICK - KAGAN GOH'S ARTISTIC CONFRONTATION OF STIGMAS AND STEREOTYPES'

- Haley Cameron,
KERRISDALE PLAYBOOK

'READ ALL OVER -
KAGAN GOH'

- Erica Mattson,
VANCOUVER IS AWESOME

'RECOLLECTIONS OF DAVID BOWIE'S SERIOUS MOONLIGHT TOUR TO SINGAPORE'

-Kagan Goh,
METRO LIVING ZINE

NEWS AND EVENTS

Kagan Goh awarded Geoff McMurchy Development Grant Recipient

January 01, 2020

We are thrilled to announce the recipient of our 1st Annual Geoff McMurchy Artist Development Grant, Kagan Goh. ( Author / Playwright / Spoken Word Poet / Filmmaker / Actor)

For our formal announcement and to learn more about Kagan, click the link below:
https://www.kickstartdisability.ca/gmadg-2020-recipient-announcement/

We look forward to continuing to celebrate Geoff McMurchy's legacy in the coming years with this grant. Thank you to all of the extremely talented artists who applied, we hope you will consider applying again next year. 

SURVIVING SAMSARA

June 15, 2017

SURVIVING SAMSARA
by Kagan Goh

A celebration of the resiliency of the human spirit to transcend the suffering of the stigma and discrimination of mental illness

WHERE: THE INTERURBAN GALLERY 
1 EAST HASTINGS (@ CARRALL)

WHEN: THURSDAY JUNE 15 & THURSDAY JUNE 29, 2017

Doors Open 7 PM
Show Starts 7.30 PM

Suggested Donation $20
(Pay what you can. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds)

A Multimedia Multidisciplinary Theatrical Performance
Featuring
KAGAN GOH – Actor & Spoken Word Artist
SALOMÉ NIETO – Butoh Dancer & Choreographer
ANGELO MORONI – Director & Composer/Musician
JUJUBE JACINTO – Rapper
RENA DEL PIEVE GOBBI – Filmmaker


SYNOPSIS

Surviving Samsara is a multimedia multidisciplinary live theatrical production that incorporates acting, spoken word, Butoh dance, rap, music, film and video. Surviving Samsara recounts the author Kagan Goh’s struggles with manic depression. This story takes place over two decades as Kagan Goh struggles to survive the highs of mania and the lows of depression. As a survivor, Kagan gives us insight into an ‘insider’s’ experience of madness. He exposes the damaging effects of the stigma of mental illness, and explores manic depression not only as a disorder, but as a spiritual emergence -- a vehicle for personal growth, healing and transcendence. Kagan’s deeply personal stories illustrate his transformation from victim to survivor to activist. 

The production of Surviving Samsara is proposed, managed and facilitated by people with personal, lived experience with mental health challenges. 

CREATIVE TEAM

KAGAN GOH – Producer, Spoken Word Artist, Playwright, Actor.  
Kagan Goh is an award-winning filmmaker, published author, spoken word poet, and mental health advocate and activist. Kagan has been published in numerous anthologies, periodicals and magazines. Select Books in Singapore published his first book, Who Let in the Sky? Goh is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a number of releases, including the award-winning Mind Fuck (1996) and Stolen Memories (2012). His films have been broadcast on national television and gained entry into respected film festivals across Canada. His personal mission is to educate people about mental health issues and fight the stigma against the mentally ill.  
(www.kagangoh.com / www.stolenmemoriesdocumentary.com)

SALOMÉ NIETO – Butoh Dancer/Choreographer.
Renowned for her emotionally-charged performances, audiences have described pataSola co-founder, Salome Nieto, as ethereal, evocative and enchanting. Her work explores the essence of Butoh and the integration of spirituality with her cultural identity. An accomplished dancer and choreographer, Salome has 23 years of specialized Butoh training with internationally-renowned instructors and has danced extensively with Kokoro Dance Company. As well as executing her own works in Vancouver, BC, Salome has performed in Argentina, Mexico, Nicaragua, Thailand, England and Poland. Recent collaborations include projects with Butoh Masters Gustavo Collini-Sartor (Argentina) and Valentin Tzin (Russia), Dianne Farnsworth, Donna Redlick Dance and since 2014 with Poet Kagan Goh (Canada).
(www.patasoladance.com)

ANGELO MORONI – Director, Musician/Composer, Social Theatre Facilitator
With more than 15 years practicing Theatre and Music, Angelo has performed in numerous theatre and modern dance companies, including in experimental music ensembles. Furthermore, he has given social theatre workshops to kids, teens, adults, the visually impaired, Amnesty International, and to educators at UBC in Canada and Mexico. In Surviving Samsara, Angelo, the musician/composer, has also given Kagan Goh (actor) directorial support with his written pieces.

JUJUBE JACINTO – Rapper, Stage Manager, Audio Visual Designer 
Jujube Jacinto is a self-taught lyricist, performer, and visual artist living with bipolar. Through her work, she heals personal trauma, inspiring others to do the same. As stage manager in Surviving Samsara, she assists with all technical aspects of the production: successful timing and delivery, costumes, props, projector, and lighting. 

RENA DEL PIEVE GOBBI – Filmmaker, Production Assistant, Audio Visual Designer
Rena Del Pieve Gobbi is a Vancouver Artist and Filmmaker. Her work has screened in 15 countries and opened for the Images Film Festival Gala in Toronto as well as the Canadian Images Gala at the VIFF IN Vancouver. Rena was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1993. Her art work is concerned with issues surrounding PTSD and sexual violence. Rena collaborated with Kagan Goh on the Surviving Samsara piece photographically five years ago. She is very excited to continue collaborating on this material. "My feeling is that work that demonstrates the experiences of mental illness are crucial to raising awareness." To this end Rena has made a video, seclusion, out of photographs shot on a camera smuggled into a psychiatric hospital when she was in her early 20s and a painting depicting herself locked in the seclusion room for seven days. The video is narrated with three journal entries woven together from the same time. An improvisational soundtrack accompanies the narrative and brings to life the hallucinated monkey in the next room. (www.rena.ca)

Sponsored by

Vancouver Foundation

DTES Small Arts Grant

Interurban Gallery

Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts

Portland Hotel Society

The Floor 9 Salon Presents "City State to Harbour City"

March 29, 2017

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada invites you to join us for the latest instalment in our Floor 9 Salon Series, a quarterly interdisciplinary art and cultural showcase of local and visiting artists who have roots in the Asia Pacific.

DATE: Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
TIME: 5.30 - 7.30 pm
LOCATION: APF Canada's Vancouver Office
9th Floor - 675 West Hastings Street

City State to Harbour City, the third event in our series, features:

KAGAN GOH
Kagan Goh is a spoken word poet, journalist, playwright, and mental health advocate who emigrated from Singapore in 1986. The author of the memoir "Who Let In the Sky?", Goh's stories have been published in several anthologies throughout the Asia Pacific. The Vancouver-based artist is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a number of releases, including the award-winning "Mind Fuck" (1996), "Breaking the Silence" (2008) and "Stolen Memories (2012). His films have been broadcast on national television and gained entry into respected film festivals across Canada. Goh's presentation will include a number of short screenings and readings.

LYDIA KWA
Lydia Kwa has lived and worked in Vancouver since 1992 as a psychologist and writer. Her writing spans various times and spaces in the Asia Pacific region and imagination. A published poet, Kwa's first novel, "This Place Called Absence" (2000), was nominated for several awards including the Books in Canada First Novel Award. Her next novel "The Walking Boy" (2005) was nominated for the Ethel Wilson prize. Her most recent novel, "Pulse" (2014), is set in both 1960s and 21st-century Singapore, as well as in Toronto. Kwa's presentation will feature short excerpts from "Pulse", "sinuous", and her forthcoming book, "Oracle Bone."

Please RSVP at event@asiapacific.ca
by Friday, March 24, 2017

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Mandy Ng - mandy.ng@asiapacific.ca

or curator Phinder Dulai - penderd@yahoo.com

Rain City Chronicles Presents Record Club: David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

November 17, 2016

Record Club : David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust
Presented in Partnership with Here There 

The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is partnering with the creative minds behind Rain City Chronicles and Sensory Cinema to present their latest creative endeavour: Record Club. Record Club is an evening of curated stories inspired by a legendary musician and themes from their notable album.

On November 17 we pay tribute to the science-fiction inspired album by David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The night begins with a happy hour listening party, before transitioning into a live storytelling event and musical act in the Planetarium Star Theatre. Beer and wine will be available for purchase before the show.

7:00pm - Happy hour listening party
8:00pm - Storytelling Planetarium event

Special guest co-host CBC's Johanna Wagstaffe and true stories told by:

Steve Barmash 
Robin Newhouse 
Kagan Goh 
David Matychuk 
Emilia Fedy 
Anthony Casey 
Nathan Hesselink 
Amber Harper-Young 
special musical guest Revered [featuring Emmett Hall of Sunday Service & members of Weekend Leisure]

Write Mastering the Craft of Writing Short Stories Through Narrative Poetry

November 19, 2016

Presented by Royal City Literary Arts Society
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2016 
Facilitator Kagan Goh 

 

“Mastering the Craft of Writing Short Stories Through Narrative Poetry”

 

Full details and payment options here: https://rclas.com/workshops/

In this 3-hour hands-on, interactive workshop, learn to master the craft of writing short stories through narrative poetry.

Award-winning filmmaker and published author Kagan Goh will facilitate a workshop in which he shares his knowledge of how to craft a narrative short story.

He will provide examples from his own work, as well as from short-story writer and poet Raymond Carver.

Participants will learn to turn a recollection, memory, anecdote, imaginary idea or an impression into a short story.

Participants will have plenty of opportunities for interaction, as they practice writing exercises in the spirit of exploration, experimentation, fun and play during the workshop. Come with a curious and open mind, pen and writing pad. Be prepared to be surprised and astonished by the new stories you will generate during this workshop.

YACTAC GALLERY PRESENTS SPATIAL POETICS WEMIX XIII

July 03, 2014

Yactac Gallery present Spatial Poetics; featuring spoken word artist Kagan Goh, cellist-composer Nicholas Epperson and Butoh dancer Maria Salome Nieto

 

Western Front: 303 East 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

8 PM

Info Line: (604) 876 9343

 

VanDocument - SPATIAL POETICS XIII: WeMix

 

VanDocument - Spatial Poetics in Photographs

MISFIT LIT MAGAZINE LAUNCH

May 24, 2014

Misfit Lit magazine launch presents spoken word artist Kagan Goh; featuring Butoh dancer Maria Salome Nieto, cellist-composer Nicholas Epperson and singer-songwriter Fraser Mackenzie

Cafe Deux Soleils: 2096 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC (at 5th Avenue)

9 PM

$7 at the door; magazines for sale

THE ARTS HOUSE PRESENTS THE SCREENING OF THE BOOK LAUNCH OF KAGAN GOH’S “WHO LET IN THE SKY?”

March 23, 2013

A son’s tribute to his father Goh Poh Seng’s courageous struggle with Parkinson’s disease

The Arts House presents a special screening of a video of a multi-media spoken word performance by author, poet and filmmaker Kagan Goh, incorporating documentary film, music, video and dance. This event features Professor Koh Tai Ann as moderator; a screening of a documentary film by director Almerinda Travossos entitled “GOH POH SENG: A POET IN NEWFOUNDLAND”; a special dance performance by dancer and choreographer Maria Salome Nieto as well as a live Q & A Skype chat with author Kagan Goh and Professor Koh Tai Ann.

THE ARTS HOUSE – 1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429

RHIZOME CAFE - BOOK LAUNCH OF 'WHO LET IN THE SKY?'

February 02, 2013

Rhizome Café presented the book launch of Kagan Goh’s “Who Let In the Sky?”

 

The book launch consisted of a live multi-media spoken word performance by author Kagan Goh incorporating documentary film, video, slide projection, music and dance.  The event featured a screening of a documentary film by director Almerinda Travossos entitled “Goh Poh Seng: A Poet in Newfoundland” as well as a special dance performance by Butoh dancer/choreographer Maria Salome Nieto. 

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CONTACT

For any media inquiries, please contact Kagan Goh:

Tel: 604-446-3366 | gohkagan@hotmail.com

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