Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Katherine Lawrence Reads to Regina City Council

Katherine Lawrence,
with Regina's mayor, Michael Fougere
As part of the 2014 Mayor's Poetry City Challenge, Regina poet Katherine Lawrence read to city council on Monday.

Katherine's poems were likely the finest words they've heard all year from that public presentations table.

(I used to cover city hall, a long time ago, for a newspaper in a city far from here, and I certainly never heard anything as powerful as Katherine's three poems during my watch.)

Thanks, Katherine Lawrence, for bringing your words and good wishes to the City of Regina.


The Mayor's Poetry City Challenge was started in Regina in 2012 (or thereabouts...), with a challenge issued by Regina's mayor to his colleagues in cities across Canada to have a local poet read a poem at the opening of a council meeting in March or April. This year, about 40 cities and municipalities took part.

Katherine Lawrence reading to Regina City Council

The challenge celebrates UNESCO's World Poetry Day (March 21) and National Poetry Month (April). It also celebrates the work of local writers, publishers and libraries, and the work of mayors and towns to promote the arts, culture, literacy and reading.

The Canada-wide event is supported by the The League of Canadian Poets and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, in partnership with the City of Regina.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Poet Ian Stephen: From the Outer Hebrides to Regina, SK

Ian Stephen
It's always a treat to meet and listen to writers from other places, and it was great this weekend to hear Ian Stephen, a writer, artist, storyteller and sailor who was visiting from Scotland's Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.

Stephen, who is in Canada as part of the Commonwealth Poets United tour, read at the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild office in Regina, along with Regina poet Bernadette Wagner.

And now my list of books to read and blogs to surf has grown again.

For example, the awesome Scottish Poetry Library.

And the beautiful collaborative site run by Stephen and visual artist Christine Morrison, Stephen | Morrison.

The readings were great and I'm now floating in a wake of inspiration. (That's meant to be a sailing/sea image, okay? Not a funereal one.) Loved the voices, the images, the words, and the trust in sharing in-progress pieces...

And as for the tour — what a concept! Six Scottish poets are visiting Commonwealth countries: Canada, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africa, and six poets from those countries — including former Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Louise Halfe, whose Cree name is Sky Dancer — will in turn visit Scotland. It's related in some way to the Commonwealth Games being held this year in Glasgow, but the idea of celebrating that with poetry seems too good to be true! How wonderful!

For more on the tour, and to read reflections and in-progress works from the poets involved, visit http://commonwealthpoetsunited.com/.

Bruce Rice (MC for the reading), Bernadette Wagner, and Ian Stephen 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bruce Rice: The Trouble with Beauty — Regina, SK, Launch

The cover of The Trouble with Beauty, by Bruce Rice
Congrats (again) to Regina poet Bruce Rice — this time, for his wonderful new poetry collection, The Trouble with Beauty (Coteau Books)! 

The Regina launch was held this week at the Slate Fine Art Gallery, with a capacity crowd in attendance. (I'd never been to this new gallery before — it's a fine place for an event like this. Space for a great reading circle of chairs, signing and food tables, and a cash bar.)

Bruce has written a stunning collection, with evocative, story-telling poems about this prairie landscape we love. The poems are accompanied by black and white images by photographer Dennis J. Evans — and I really like the landscape format of The Trouble with Beauty because of the play this allows for both of their work.

A sample of The Trouble with Beauty is available on the publisher's website. Seven poems and a few images. Visit. Read! (Buy?)

Bruce Rice reading (primarily...) from The Trouble with Beauty 

Photographer Dennis J Evans
and poet Bruce Rice 
Coteau publisher Nik Burton
encouraging all to buy the book. 

Thanks to all for a great evening! 

(I'm looking forward to spending more time with The Trouble with Beauty.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Trevor Herriot: The Road is How — Regina Launch

Because Trevor Herriot sent me a poster for the May 15th Regina launch of his new book The Road is How (HarperCollins)...

Because I was oh-so-fortunate to read a draft of The Road is How...

Because I love books about nature and walking (there is a whole sub-genre of Camino books in my basement)...

Because, yes, I really enjoyed this great book! ...

Here is the invite to the launch of Trevor Herriot's The Road is How, at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Thursday May 15. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; the event starts at 7:30 p.m. and features a reading by Trevor, photos by Dennis Evans, and a discussion between them about walking and the human spirit.

Regina launch of Trevor Herriot's new book, The Road is How 

Trevor explains that this, his latest book, 
"traces a three-day walk down one of my favourite prairie roads leading away from Regina, blending observations of the ordinary and the extraordinary with conversations at roadside and in memory. Along the way, the stories weave together history, ecology, and spirituality as I try to listen more deeply to the birds and other living things I encounter. There are many side-trips, but the narrative returns always to the straight road and its questions about desire and the bonds of love, family, community, and place."  
Book sales and signing to follow. Cash bar hosted by Friends of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Yes, should be fun. 
(And look! A Margaret Atwood comment on the poster! Atwood's Ode To No, about denying blurb requests, has been making the social media rounds lately. For more background on the Ode, see Question 2 in the FAQs on MargaretAtwood.ca.)


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

David Carpenter: Vol 2: Literary History of Saskatchewan

Volume 2 of David Carpenter's Literary History of Saskatchewan was launched in Regina at the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild's recent Talking Fresh 12 Festival — and it's available through Coteau Books.

Subtitled, Progressions, this book builds on Volume 1 (Literary History of Saskatchewan: Beginning) with a second series of essays and tributes to Saskatchewan writers.

At the launch held at the University of Regina, Carpenter announced that Volume 3 will soon be underway — under the direction of a new editor, Kelly-Anne Reiss.

Congrats to you both, editors Carp and Reiss!

Dave Carpenter, Editor of Volumes 1 & 2,
Literary History of Saskatchewan  
Kelly-Anne Reiss, who will be undertaking Volume 3,
Literary History of Saskatchewan. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Congrats to Regina poet, Bruce Rice!

Yeah, Bruce Rice! Congrats on being named this year's winner of the P.K. Page Founders' Award for Poetry, for the best poem of 2014 in The Malahat Review

Rice's poem, Into the Wind, is also featured through a link on the announcement page.

There's a good interview with Bruce about this poem on the Malahat Review site. And, the judge, Anne Simpson, said this about his poem: 
"'Into the Wind' is a plainly spoken poem, yet it has the largeness of the land. This is implicit in its long lines, moving―even meandering―across the page. It allows us to hear that 'frail silence' between brothers, between the living and the dead, in this deeply meditative elegy."
Read it. It's good. 


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Talking Fresh 12: Exile — Writing Beyond the Borders

For 12 years, writing has been celebrated in Regina at the free-to-all-attendees Talking Fresh festival. This year's great presenters were poet and spoken word artist Lillian Allen, poet and non-fiction writer Armand Ruffo, and playwright Colleen Murphy.

I'm a wee bit late, as this year's event, called Exile: Writing Beyond the Borders, was held in early March, but I want to note, for the (my) record, how much fun it was and how amazing the participating writers (and their workshops) were!

Colleen Murphy, Armand Ruffo, and Lillian Allen 

Many thanks to Colleen Murphy, Armand Ruffo and Lillian Allen! (Double thanks to Lillian Allen, as I attended two workshops that she offered.) And, especially, to the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, who hosts this event.   


Monday, February 10, 2014

Brenda Schmidt and Suzette Mayer Read in Regina

Writers Brenda Schmidt and Suzette Mayer are reading in Regina on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 — though I'll be lucky enough to catch them tonight, a day early, at their reading at St. Peter's College, Muenster, SK, site of the writing retreat I'm attending.

Here's the Regina information:

Where: Campion College room 322
When: Tuesday, February 11, 7:00-8:15
Free admission!

In collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts, The Humanities Research Institute is pleased to host a reading by Giller Prize nominee Suzette Mayr and celebrated Saskatchewan author Brenda Schmidt. All are welcome to come out and and enjoy an evening of stimulating literary inspiration.

Suzette Mayr is the author of four novels, including her most recent book Monoceros, which won the ReLit and W. O. Mitchell Awards, and was nominated for the 2011 Giller Prize, the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, and Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. Her novel The Widows was a finalist for the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book in the Canada-Caribbean region. Her work has been or will be translated into German, Italian, and French. She is a former president of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, and she teaches creative writing at the University of Calgary.

Brenda Schmidt is a writer and visual artist based in Creighton, a mining town on the Canadian Shield in northern Saskatchewan. Author of four books of poetry and a book of essays, her work has been published, performed, shown and broadcast across Canada and was recently part of a poetry installation at the University of Exeter (UK). She was the 2011 Mackie Lake House writer-in-residence (BC), a featured writer at the 2011 Talking Fresh conference at Luther College at the University of Regina (SK), faculty member of the Fernie Writers Conference in 2007 and 2008 (BC), featured writer at Writers West at Okanagan College in 2006 (BC), a poetry workshop leader (BC), and has served on the board of directors for the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild. She is one of the artists featured in the book Celebrating Saskatchewan Artists (Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, 2006. Her latest books are Grid and Flight Calls: An Apprentice on the Art of Listening, both published in 2012.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Judith Krause: Saskatchewan's New Poet Laureate!

Saskatchewan's new Poet Laureate, Judith Krause. 
Congrats to Regina poet Judith Krause, recently named as Saskatchewan's new Poet Laureate!

Judith's appointment, which runs through 2014 and 2015, was celebrated this week with a reading and reception at Government House, in Regina, Saskatchewan.

A poet, editor and educator, Judith has four books of poetry with a fifth slated for publication in Fall 2014. She's the fifth to hold the title of Poet Laureate in Saskatchewan, after Glen Sorestad, Louise B. Halfe, Robert Currie, and Donald Kerr.

For more, see the Saskatchewan Writer's Guild's news release, buy and read some of her books — and watch for readings and events with our new Poet Laureate, Judith Krause!

Booklist (by Judith Krause):

  • What We Bring Home. (Coteau Books, 1986).
  • Half the Sky. (Coteau Books, 1994).
  • Silk Routes of the Body. (Coteau Books, 2001)  
  • Mongrel Love (Hagios Press, 2008)
  • Homage to Happiness. (Hagios Press, forthcoming 2014). 

Poet Laureate Judith Krause, with Her Honour,
the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield,
Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. 


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Byrna Barclay Special Edition of Transition Magazine

Byrna Barclay, at the launch of the Byrna Barclay edition of Transition © SB
Transition magazine has launched a special edition to honour long-time editor and advocate Byrna Barclay.

The launch featured readings by Byrna Barclay, and by contributors to the Winter 2013 issue: Annette Bower, Linda Biasotto, Denise SD Stilling and Adam Staite.

Held in Regina, Saskatchewan, the event also featured the prominent display of The Blue Horse, a painting by Saskatoon artist and writer (and contributor to this issue), Marie Elyse St. George. The painting was the cover image for Byrna's novel, The Last Echo, and also used on the cover of the magazine.

Byrna Barclay, a fiction writer and poet (among many other talents), edited Transition for 20 years, and actively encouraged members of the Saskatchewan writing community to submit their prose and poetry to her pages.

(I also know Byrna in her role as the long-time host of The Bees, a Regina writing group that Annette, Linda and I belong/ed to. My thanks, Byrna, for all your ideas, work and support!)

Transition is published annually by the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Edited by Ted Dyck, it welcomes submissions from writers and artists.

Sean St. George (artist Marie Elyse St. George's son) and Byrna Barclay, with a display
that include Elyse's painting The Blue Horse, Byrna's novels and the magazine. 
 © SB
Annette Bower  © SB
Editor Ted Dyck   © SB
Adam Staite     © SB
Denise SD Stilling © SB
Linda Biasotto  © SB

This issue of Transition also includes one of the best writers' bios I've seen recently: 

"I am 90. The chance of anyone being left alive to figure out who [the men in my article] were is very unlikely."

(Way to go, Kay Parley!) 


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