Crystal Hurdle grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, and Victoria, BC, where she obtained a BA and MA in English Literature, as well as certification for teaching high school students and English as a Second Language. Since 1985, with her husband, she has made her home in North Vancouver. After teaching English and Creative Writing at Capilano University (North Vancouver) for 35 years, she is reinventing herself in retirement by practicing yoga (wimpily), cycling (badly—joggers can pass her), tapestry weaving, shibori dyeing, hand-building odd creatures with clay, and writing fiction (novels). After decades of attending beginners’ dance classes, most recently pow wow and jigging, she’d like to move up to intermediate but doubts such will happen in this lifetime. As well, she mentors through the League of Canadian Poets and CSARN and conducts a writing class for seniors.
Her first book of poetry, After Ted & Sylvia: Poems, was published by Ronsdale Press in the fall of 2003. As a featured/guest speaker, Hurdle read several of these poems at International Sylvia Plath Symposiums at the University of Indiana in 2002 and at the University of Oxford in 2007. A self-confessed Plath and Hughes addict, she developed and taught two courses (creative writing and literature) in which their work figured prominently. Her current poetry manuscript, Syl-Lo-(Gism): if Sylvia therefore Lolita, unites Nabokov’s Lolita with Plath.
Teacher’s Pets, a teen novel in verse, was published by Tightrope Books in 2014. George Elliot Clarke concluded his review of it: “This poetry is a mash-up of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and and Peggy Atwood’s Journals of Susanna Moodie: Naughty and knotty imagery that makes ‘roughing it in the bush’ a double entendre. A creative writing prof at Capilano University, Hurdle knows her stuff. Teacher’s Pets is a Grade A accomplishment.”
Of Sick Witch (Ronsdale 2020), Moira MacDougall writes, “In the era of AIDS, SARS, now Corona virus, Sick Witch is by twist and turn a harrowing journey through multiple and chronic afflictions, at one moment sad, funny and deeply ironic. Interrupted only by acerbic responses to the ‘Oz’ of the health insurance bureaucracy, Hurdle’s vision is sweeping, nay ‘soaring’ in its use of familiar literary and Hollywood icons and narratives to bridge the narrator’s rich, inner landscape while conveying the daily experience of a body ill-adapted to our environment.”
Crystal’s poetry has been published widely in Canadian journals, including Canadian Literature, The Literary Review of Canada, The Prairie Journal, The Dalhousie Review, and The Capilano Review, of which she was Fiction editor in the late eighties, and on whose board of directors she sat for years. Her website is crystalhurdle.ca