Sunday, August 13, 2017

Heat warning in effect

...for this part of northern Saskatchewan says Environment Canada. They might be referring to the pickled hot peppers H made today.

Meanwhile over on Twitter, I'm posting the odd poetry poll for fun. Here's one I posted today.

And over on the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate page on Facebook, we're writing a collaborative poem titled "August." Facebook only allows an event to last for two weeks, thus the dates.

The response has not been large, but it's been great. It's a really lovely gathering. Thank you, everyone!    

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Postcard poem included in exhibition in Toronto

Ruth Roach Pierson, Maureen Scott Harris and Elaine Whittaker's exhibition "Post Me a Card" runs from July 19-29 at the Red Head Gallery in Toronto. I love the whole concept and I'm so excited to see my postcard poem included. Here's the front. 

It's a watercolor and ink painting celebrating one of my favourite places in Saskatchewan, which just happens to be a few kilometers outside of Creighton. There's a poem on the back that I wrote to the intended recipient describing the place. 

I wish I could attend the show in person to experience the rest. But already it's giving me ideas and sending my thoughts in new directions. Thank you, Ruth, Maureen, and Elaine.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Last night's Ore with George Elliott Clarke

Last night was amazing! George Elliott Clarke wowed the audience. So grateful to him for making the journey north to our community.  

Copied from the Ore Samples Writers Series blog:

The July 20 Ore at the Flin Flon Public Library​ was a dream! The workshop led by visiting author George Elliott Clarke was excellent and very well-attended, and his reading was dynamite! Thank you to host Kevin Imrie, and what a great host he is. Thank you to the great audience. Thank you to the amazing Flin Flon Public Library. Thank you to the community, the sponsors, and the local media for their engagement with the arts and for making great things like this happen. And it was great! 

Visiting author George Elliott Clarke reading from his latest book.

The completely engaged audience.

George Elliott Clarke with host Kevin Imrie.

Ore Samples Writers Series gratefully acknowledges support from Artists in Communities. Artists in Communities is a joint initiative of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture Inc., and is supported by funding provided by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation. Thank you to our community partners Flin Flon Public Library and Flin Flon Arts Council, and sponsors Hudbay and the Victoria Inn.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The 21st Annual Saskatchewan Festival of Words

Thank you to everyone at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words! The festival ran from July 13-16 in Moose Jaw, and it was amazing! The festival is always great, but I think this was the best one yet. Exciting, thought-provoking, and so tuned in to the times. I feel so lucky to have been there. Hats off to the organizers, volunteers, authors, and performers! Cheers to the great audiences! Cheers to the funders! I attended as many readings, panels, and events as possible and met and reconnected with so many people. It was great.

And Bob Dylan was in Moose Jaw on Saturday! To mark the occasion I wrote an invocation and shared it at the festival:


O Bob Dylan, when you stop in Moose Jaw
on July 15, you will feel the heat
Saskatchewan keeps here. Listen in awe
to the aw in the name of the place. Sweet
voices of some of Canada’s finest
writers will raise the temperature downtown
even more. But who am I to suggest
you listen? It’s me who needs to hear. Clowns
like me are left right stuck in simple rhymes
while nobly you sing. Please help. I’m trying
to finish this sonnet. O help me climb
into a comfy couplet. This crying
won’t get me a selfie with you, will it?
I’m at the library. The name is Schmidt.

It didn't work.

Here's a sampling of what I did at the festival:

Writing in Troubled Times panel with Harold Johnson, Jael Richardson, Yann Martel, and Alanna Mitchell. Moderated by Angie Abdou. This was just one of the powerful panels I took in during the festival, every one of which filled the space. The audiences were great and totally engaged.   

At the Hyland Memorial Session on Friday morning, a session shared with Jim McLean, I shared memories and read a poem from Gary Hyland's book Hands Reaching in Water

 At the Friday afternoon session, shared with Sheri-D Wilson, I read from Line Dance. On Saturday morning in a session shared with Johnny Trinh, I read from my book Grid and shared work from new projects.

And of course I bought lots of books. Some titles were sold out before I shopped. That's because I had ignored my own rule: Always visit the book table first thing! 

Monday, July 03, 2017

Quarterly report and upcoming July event!

This is not an official quarterly report, but the thank you I posted on the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Facebook page:
Well I started on April 1 and somehow it's already July! Thank you to all those who have invited me, welcomed me, supported my efforts, and to all those who've helped make it fun! I've met a great number of people and learned so much in the past couple months. Saskatchewan is an amazing place!
The objectives of the Poet Laureate Program:
- To celebrate the spirit of the people and place of Saskatchewan.
- To raise the profile of writers in Saskatchewan.
- To elevate writing as a vocation.
- To raise awareness of the power of poetry and the spoken word.
- To create a recognized spokesperson for writing in general and poetry in particular who will be a respected participant of festive occasions and official functions in the province.
- To be a focal point for the expression of Saskatchewan cultures (time, land, people) through the literary arts.
I'm doing my best and I've had a lot of help. Thank you to everyone!
As stated on the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild site, communities, non-profit organizations, service organizations, and educational institutions may submit applications requesting the participation of the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate at a special event in Saskatchewan. More information about the Poet Laureate Program can be found here.

I hope to see many of you at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words in Moose Jaw, July 13-16! The list of presenters is impressive. I look forward to taking in as much as possible. Thank you to the Saskatchewan Festival of Words for inviting me to present as well. I'm really excited to share some new work and to just hang out with readers and writers and have some fun. This festival is always great. See you there!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Where the Poem Came From the title of this postcard I painted for the "Postcards to the Station" exhibit and fundraiser for the Station Arts Centre in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. It's one of the 113 postcards they received this year from all over, all of which can be viewed in person or online on the Station Arts Centre Co-Operative Facebook page. It's a silent auction; all proceeds go to the Station Arts Centre. There are some real beauties, so have a look. This is my first attempt at a postcard. I used watercolor and ink. On the back is a haiku.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rockglen Arts in the Park was amazing!

I had a great time in Rockglen! This is what greeted us as we approached the town. Magnificent!

Rockglen Arts in the Park was amazing! Fantastic exhibits, fantastic entertainers, and a great crowd! Hats off to the organizers and volunteers! What a great community! And the landscape is breathtaking. Turkey vultures, nighthawks and doves all circled the courtyard as the music played. Thank you to the organizers of Arts in the Park for inviting me to this incredible event and thank you to everyone for the warm hospitality. I instantly felt at home.

"Turning Owls into Poems: Ten Ways to Find Magic Right Where You Are" was the title of my display and talk and I took great Saskatchewan poetry along and some free books courtesy of Brick Books.

My 30-minute talk included readings of these poems and a brief biographical comment on each poet:

“Our Sullen Art” by Anne Szumigalski from On Glassy Wings: Poems New & Selected, Coteau Books, 1997.

“Lunar Eclipse – Saskatchewan” by Carla Braidek from A Map in My Blood, Thistledown Press, 2016.

“Things Recede, Everything Recedes, Everything is Far Away” by Tim Lilburn from Moosewood Sandhills, McClelland & Stewart, 1994.

“A Gust” by Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen from Ör, Brick Books, 2003.

“Notes for touring the Museum of Winter” by Paul Wilson from Turning Mountain, Wolsak and Wynn, 2007

“Deer Mouse” by Barbara Klar from The Blue Field, Coteau Books, 1999.

“She” by Randy Lundy from The Gift of the Hawk, Coteau Books, 2005.
“Day Thirteen Owl Syntax” by Mari-Lou Rowley from Suicide Psalms, Anvil Press, 2008.

“Owl’s Take on Man” by Lorna Crozier from The Wrong Cat, McClelland & Stewart, 2015.

“The Breath of Looking” by Sheri Benning from Thin Moon Psalm, Brick Books, 2007.

I made a stack of bookmarks as well. 

So grateful to the amazing artist who took us to the Burning Hills just outside of Rockglen. The view was unbelievable!

Another angle of the Burning Hills. The Burning Hills Hiking Trail is now on my bucket list!

Another view from the head of the Burning Hills Hiking Trail. That's Rockglen way down there! Such a beautiful place!

This was the courtyard just after we returned from a delicious pancake breakfast. A gorgeous space on a gorgeous day.

All of the entertainment was superb!

I had a fantastic time. I look forward to visiting Rockglen again!