Friday, November 27, 2015

Poet Laureate Celebrates New Saskatchewan Poets

This week, Saskatchewan's Poet Laureate Judith Krause co-hosted a reading to celebrate authors of new and upcoming poetry collections. I am so honoured that I was chosen to participate!

Selected poets were:
  • Cassidy McFadzean, (Hacker Packer); 
  • Shelley Banks, (Exile on a Grid Road)
  • dee Hobsbawn-Smith, (Wildness Rushing In); 
  • Jim McLean, (The Secret Life of Railroaders; co-author of Wildflowers Across the Prairies)

The event was co-hosted by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. The range of work was wonderful, and our thanks to all who attended! We were very lucky to read during Zachari Logan's exhibit, A Natural History of Unnatural Things, an intriguing mix of detailed realism and humour. 

Top: dee Hobsbawn-Smith, reading to the audience;
Middle: Shelley Banks, proving that her hair is still growing; SK Poet Laureate Judith Krause;
Jim McLean and Cassidy McFadzean;
Bottom: Shelley Banks, reading to the room. 

Scenes from the evening. 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wascana Lake: Four Seasons Photo Book, Sheena Simonson

Sheena Simonson at Chapters this week
with Wascana Lake Through Four Seasons.
I was happy to see my photographer friend Sheena Simonson this week at Chapters in Regina, where she was signing copies of her new book, Wascana Lake Through Four Seasons.

Sheena and I took several of Regina photography instructor Lori Maxim's classes together a few years ago, and Sheena does lovely work. (You, too, Lori!)

I know this book is a project close to Sheena's heart — and she's showing her heart, too, by donating $2 from the sale of each book to "All That Kids Can Be," in support of United Way initiatives to improve educational outcomes for Regina’s children. (A removable sticker on the front cover indicates this. Yes, removable is what Sheena's website about the Wascana Lake book says about the sticker, and I bought a copy of the book and so I can verify that it comes off cleanly... Not quickly and impatiently, though. More, "Shelley, go slowly and this will all be gone" removably.)

For more on Wascana Lake, see
Shelley Leedahl's excellent review on SaskBooks
Reviewer Shelley Leedahl on the SaskBooks (Saskatchewan Publishers Group) site calls Wascana Lake a "beautifully-designed and easy-to-read book, and says:
Simonson begins her book with a Henry David Thoreau quote: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Sheena Simonson, I like what you see, and am grateful you’ve shared it.  
Me. too, Sheena!

Copies of Wascana Lake are available from Chapters in Regina, and from Sheena Simonson's online store.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Byrna Barclay: House of the White Elephant

Last week, I was at the most elegant and well attended book launch I've seen in Regina, SK — the soiree to celebrate Byrna Barclay's tenth novel, The House of the White Elephant and her new publishing house, Burton House Books. It was wonderful to see so many of Byrna's friends and well wishers — and readers!

A full house in the lobby beside the 20Ten Eatery in Regina

"You're all here!" Byrna Barclay. 
Byrna Barclay, signing her new novel 
Photos: Heather Hodgson and Byrna Barclay
A cake to celebrate the story behind the book 
A cake to celebrate the book. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Emerging Writers Reading

Now this is exciting: I've been invited to participate in the first-ever Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Emerging Writers Reading this month. My thanks to our poet laureate, Judith Krause, and the Saskatchewan Writers Guild!

For any who can't read the poster below, it's on November 25, at 7:00 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Regina, 2420 Elphinstone Street, and I'll be reading with Cassidy McFadzean, dee Hobsbawn-Smith, and Jim McLean.

Exciting! And although I boast the world's shortest bio, I should
(belatedly) add that I also have an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC,
along with assorted literary publications... For whatever that's worth! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Regina book launch - Shelley Banks, Tara Gereaux, Jan Wood

That was fun, launching my poetry collection, Exile on a Grid Road, on Thursday with Tara Gereaux (Size of a Fist) and Jan Wood (Love is not Anonymous). We had a great room at Bushwakkers (so great beer, too), and a wonderful MC! (Thank you, Eric Greenway!)

And thanks, too, to Thistledown Press for publishing our books in this year's New Leaf Series, and for help arranging this event! (All of our books are available directly through Thistledown, as well as from SaskBooks, and other booksellers.)

And a big thank you to Anne McDonald, for my Exile Happy Book Birthday cake! And to Annette Bower, for suggesting banners! (More pix on my Exile on a Grid Road blog.)

Scenes at the launch: Left - Jan Wood, Shelley Banks, and Tara Gereaux reading; Centre and lower right - the audience;
Right, top: Shelley Banks, with Anne McDonald, who brought a Birthday Exile Cake!
Centre, middle: Fantastic MC (and floor hockey and badminton player) Eric Greenway

Scenes after the launch: Top: Shelley Banks, Tara Gereaux;
Lower: Jan Wood, Shelley Banks and Tara Gereaux; Jan Wood. 

So many great readings! So many great writers!

I've been in a daze lately because of my own book, but as always in Fall, I'm impressed by how many great readings we have in Regina, SK.! (And there have been several more I've missed because of plummeting energy levels and other factors...)

First up, the October Vertigo Reading Series event was amazing with captivating readings by three great novelists: Connie Gault, Dianne Warren and Elizabeth Phillips (and music by Ava Wild). One of the best sets of SK writers imaginable! My camera was sleeping at home, but here's the poster:

Next, the John V. Hicks Awards, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild at their Fall Conference. Congrats to the winners! 

First Place: Katherine Lawrence for Never Mind
Second Place: Gerry Hill for Occasional Cities
Third Place: Carla Barkman for Shot
Honourable mention: Kathleen Wall for Visible Cities.

Congrats to Katherine Lawrence!
I am really looking forward to reading this book! 

And congrats, too, to Gerry Hill — giving a reading
long-distance, from his retreat. (Yes, this too I want to read.) 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Daniel Tysdal, with Hamon, McFadzean, Mader in Regina

Daniel Tysdal was in Regina this week for a reading from his new book, Fauxccasional Poems, a collection that celebrates events that never occurred — and poems by people who never composed them.  

It's fun! Or as the publisher says, "In a dizzying display of poetic insight, technical prowess, and playful parody, Fauxccasional Poems brings these alternate universes to life, forcing the reader to ponder the contingency of history and how each moment brings us to a thousand turning points.  Gooselane Editions.  

Tysdal read with poets Tracy Hamon, Cassidy McFadzean and Nathan Mader. A highly entertaining evening.

Daniel Tysdal, with his Fauxccasional Poems
Tracy Hamon, with her latest collection,
Red Curls. 
Cassidy McFadzean read Hacker Packer
Nathan Mader 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dianne Warren - Liberty Street

I've done early Christmas shopping, and some lucky person will receive an autographed copy of Dianne Warren's new novel, Liberty Street (HarperCollins).

Dianne launched her Liberty Street to a full house at Regina's Slate Gallery in late September. I enjoyed the reading — and I'm looking forward to a careful read of her book. (Wouldn't want to dog ear the pages... This is/will be a gift. Really!)

Dianne Warren 


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Exile on a Grid Road -- my new poetry collection

My new poetry collection!  
I'm delighted to announce that my new poetry collection, Exile on a Grid Road, has been published by Thistledown Press

To celebrate, I've launched a blog — — that will focus on the book and serve as a central spot for listing readings and other information.

There's also lots of information at Thistledown,

Exile on a Grid Road is available through Thistledown, McNally Robinson bookstores, and online booksellers.

We have launches and readings planned for Exile on a Grid Road and others in the New Leaf Series for Regina, Saskatoon, and Big River, Saskatchewan for late October and early November. If you're in those areas, please drop by!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Monahan, Rhenisch, Simmers: Vertigo Reading Series

A few photographs from the September Vertigo Reading Series in Regina, SK, featuring Lynda Monahan, Harold Rhenisch, Bren Simmers, and guitarist Ben Winoski. 

(Tara Dawn — what a great job you do, bringing writers from across Saskatchewan and Canada together!) 

Lynda Monahan (Saskatchewan),
reading from her new book, verge
Harold Rhenisch (B.C.), with 
Two Minds and A Journey to Iceland
Bren Simmers (B.C.), with
Vertigo Reading Series host,
Tara Dawn Solheim.

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