BA (Hons), MA

Faculty of Arts and Sciences
School of Humanities
School of Humanities - English

604.986.1911 ext. 2420
Fir Building, room FR468


Diploma in Applied Linguistics for Teaching ESL, Department of Linguistics, University of Victoria, 1985.

MA, Department of English Literature, University of Victoria, 1981.

Secondary School Teaching Certification, University of Victoria, 1980.

BA (Honours), Department of English Literature, University of Victoria, 1979.

"'Just do it!' – Nike"


Crystal Hurdle teaches English and Creative Writing at Capilano University. In the mid-nineties, she was co-coordinator of the English Department. Hurdle has also taught at the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia and at Simon Fraser University as the Technical Writing Director of the School of Engineering. From the University of Victoria, she obtained a BA (Honours) and an MA in English. She also received a certification for teaching high school students and for teaching English as a Second Language.

Hurdle has facilitated Instructional Skills Workshops at Capilano University, as well as completed facilitators' training and professional development in New Westminster and Naramata.

In October 2007, she was Guest Poet at the International Sylvia Plath Symposium at the University of Oxford, reading from After Ted & Sylvia: Poems. Her work, poetry and prose, has been published in many journals, including Canadian Literature, The Literary Review of Canada, Event, Bogg, Vallum, Transverse, Ars Medica, and The Dalhousie Review. Teachers Pets, a teen novel in verse, was published in 2014.

I love to teach inductively, pulling from students delights that they already know. I've taught teachers, engineers and engineering students, writers, Enlgish for Academic Purposes (EAP) students. I've used collaborative learning/writing in many forms.

I fell in love with American poet Sylvia Plath in a Freshman Literature course. On smeary mimeograph paper were "Lady Lazarus" and "Tulips." 'Who is this woman?' I asked then and have attempted to answer ever since. Seeing Ted Hughes at a rare reading in Vancouver, BC in the early nineties, I became increasingly fascinated about the pair.

In my students, I encourage the passion and curiousity that I felt as a student and continue to feel.

The idea of author as ventriloquist of other voices greatly appeals. I have become increasingly keen on the monologue since using it in After Ted and Sylvia: poems (Ronsdale, 2003), in which I adopted the voices of Plath, Hughes, critics, authors, family members, and others involved in the literary romance. While each of several voices claims to "speak," no voice listens; thus, communication occurs only in the integration of the disparate texts by the reader.

Voice becomes narrative. And it's great fun!

Using other writers their work, their lives for fodder works well for me, and I like exploring the line between creative and academic workis there really such a line?

Teachers Pets, a novel in verse for young adults (Tightrope Books, 2014), prompted Canada's poet laureate George Elliott Clarke to say, This poetry is a mash-up of Vladimir Nabokovs Lolita and Peggy Atwoods Journals of Susanna Moodie: Naughty and knotty imagery that makes roughing it in the bush a double entendre.

After Ted & Sylvia: poems, about, to, and for poets Plath and Hughes, was published by Ronsdale Press in 2003. A self-confessed Plath and Hughes addict, she has developed and taught both a poetry course (209) and a creative writing class (292) in which their work figures prominently. In October 2007, as Guest Poet at the International Sylvia Plath Symposium at the University of Oxford, Crystal read from the text there and at Blackwell's Bookstore.

Her work (poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews) has been published in many journals, including Canadian LiteratureLiterary Review of CanadaEventBoggFireweed, DandelionWhetstoneThe Wascana ReviewThe Dalhousie ReviewThe Capilano ReviewGrainThe Windsor ReviewThe Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature, Contemporary Verse 2The FiddleheadTransitionThe Globe and MailThe Tyee, VallumOther VoicesRoom of Ones Own and in Pooka Press' poetry postcard series and photobooth series, as well as the anthologies The Eloquent SheArms Like Ladders and Body Breakdowns: Tales of Illness and RecoverySilver Boomers and Honouring Motherhood: Prayers, Ceremonies and Blessings, which she finds amusing as she and her husband are childless.

Crystal was Fiction Editor of The Capilano Review in the late eighties and sat of the board of directors for many years.


After Ted & Sylvia: poems. Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2003.

Teachers Pets. Barrie, Ont.: Tightrope Books, 2014.

For a complete list of publications, visit her ePortfolio.

Guest poet, 75th International Sylvia Plath Symposium, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, October 2007.

"Braid" received runner-up status in the short story contest sponsored by the North Shore Festival of Writers, April 2007.

"Booked" received runner-up status in the short story contest sponsored by the North Shore Festival of Writers, April 2006. 

An excerpt from "Sivvy: Court Green" was chosen for reproduction on Vancouver's public transit for 2004-2005 and for elsewhere in BC for 2005-2006 (Poetry in transit Series VIII) and is currently on its website.

I was the only featured speaker from Canada to read at the International Sylvia Plath Symposium at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana, Fall 2002.

"Ajar" was awarded first runner-up (poetry) in The Capilano Review's International Cover Art competition, December 2000.