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TreeTalk-ing or, "How I Became a Serial Poetry Monogamist"

Ariel Gordon, award-winning poet, brings things together—people, ideas, forms and genres, and more. She is author of essay collection Treed: Walking in Canada's Urban Forest, and her latest release is TreeTalk, her third poetry collection.

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It was a midnight proposal.

I was a long-time admirer of Synonym Art Consultation’s residency program, which took place at The Tallest Poppy, a Jewish diner/hangout in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood.

One night, after a good half hour of browsing SAC’s website like it was a dating site, all I could think was: “I want to do one of those!” And: “But what could I do?”

At that point, I was halfway through the writing of my collection of essays, Treed: Walking in Canada’s Urban Forest, which means I was (and still am!) obsessed with all things arboreal.

And while I was officially working on Treed, I am a serial poetry monogamist, which is to say that I’d published two collections of poetry (Hump and Stowaways) and generally made it my mission in life to convert non-believers to poetry.

At events, I’d shamelessly try to steal prose-writers’ audiences. My favourite thing, afterwards, was to hear people say, “You know, I don’t read poetry usually, but that was really interesting…”

(And yes, if you …

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Rooster Town: The History of an Urban Métis Community

Book Cover Rooster Town

Rooster Town: The History of an Urban Métis Community, by Evelyn Peters, Adrian Werner and Matthew Stock, documents a history of Indigenous urban experience in the Métis community of Rooster Town on the outskirts of southwest Winnipeg. In this list, Peters shares other works that explore the important colonial history of First Nations and Métis communities within urban areas in Canada. 

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In 1901, sixteen Métis households moved into southwest Winnipeg joining six Métis families who had moved there a few years before. They squatted on unserviced lots which had reverted to the City of Winnipeg for unpaid taxes. While the settlement contracted slightly during the Great Depression, Rooster Town grew every year until in 1946 the community reached its maximum size of 59 households, with an estimated population of more the 250 people. Poverty and unstable employment meant that squatting or buying inexpensive land on the city fringe, and self-building, was a resilient strategy for accessing urban employment and services and providing housing for families. 

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Poverty and unstable employment meant that squatting or buying inexpensive land on the city fringe, and self-building, was a resilient strategy for accessing urban employment and services and providing housing fo …

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The Chat: Trevor Corkum Interviews Katherena Vermette

Katherena Vermette © Lisa Delorme Meiler

TREVOR CORKUM cropped

This week, I’m chatting with Katherena Vermette, author of the extraordinary debut novel The Break. The book was recently shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award and has been receiving rave reviews across the country.

The Globe and Mail calls The Break “an incredible feat of storytelling.The National Post says “Vermette puts a human face to issues that are too-often misunderstood, and in so doing, she has written a book that is both one of the most important of the year and one of the best.”

Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer of poetry, fiction, and children’s literature. In addition to winning the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, her first book, North End Love Songs, is the 2015 selection for Manitoba’s provincial book club, On the Same Page. Vermette has recently been shortlisted for the inaugural Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award. Her work has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies across the globe. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University …

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Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg

Book Cover Stuck in the Middle

Winnipeg's gorgeous wildness is powerfully apparent in the photography book Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg by Bryan Scott and Bartley Kives. We're pleased to bring a few examples of the book's remarkable images, which celebrate and explore one of Canada's best cities. 

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Desired and reviled, adulated and condemned, Winnipeg inspires intense and contradictory emotions from residents, visitors and people who have never even ventured within wading distance of the Manitoba capital. The city at the centre of North America inspires a profound sense of ambivalence, stuck as it is between a colourful and triumphant early history, a long period of 20th-Century decline and an uncertain if optimistic future. Stuck in the Middle finds photographer Bryan Scott and journalist Bartley Kives exploring the geography, design and reputation of the only city they have ever truly known, loved and hated. With vicious honesty and intense affection, Scott and Kives expose Winnipeg's beautiful and conflicted soul for the rest of the world to admire and detest and ultimately ignore.

Wolseley Winter

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Behind the Poem: DH by Melanie Dennis Unrau

Happiness Threads

Sitting down to write “behind” one of the poems from my new collection, Happiness Threads: The Unborn Poems, I realize many of these poems don’t have much of a backstory. The book is about mothering young children, so the background is my experience of that phase of white, middle-class, Canadian life. More specifically, it’s based in my experience in Wolseley—the “granola belt” of Winnipeg, now a more desirable neighbourhood than it was when we moved in a decade ago. It has hundred-year-old houses, organic grocery stores, a bakery famous for its whole-wheat cinnamon buns, families hanging out with neighbours on their stoops and porches, and more than its fair share of the earthy, natural-parenting mamas who appear in my poems. 

When my second child was a baby I joined a babywearing support group. You know the slings, wraps, and other contraptions parents use to carry their babies around? Well, if you’re really into those things you call yourself a babywearer. We had a lending library where anyone could borrow a carrier and try it out for a month or more at a time. And we had an online forum for babywearing parents. It turned out the “parents” were all mothers.

Both the face-to-face meetings and the more frequent online conversations came to mean …

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Project Bookmark Canada's Carol Shields Celebration and Contest

carolshieldsprizepack

Miranda Hill, author of the acclaimed short story collection Sleeping Funny and the founder of Project Bookmark Canada, announces the newest Bookmark going up this Thursday in Winnipeg, and offers you a chance to win a thrilling prize pack of Carol Shields titles.

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At Project Bookmark Canada, we’re turning the library inside out, bringing text from stories and poems to the exact physical locations where literary scenes take place. With the help of readers across the country, we’re building a national network of sites and stories so that we can all read our way across Canada.

the republic of love

On October 24, it’s lucky Bookmark 13: The Republic of Love by Carol Shields, in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village. Carol Shields’ work has introduced many readers across the country and around the world to Winnipeg, so it seems fitting that this Bookmark is introducing Project Bookmark Canada to the city. And does the city ever shine in The Republic of Love, a story about the people and places that steal our hearts. Winnipeg is so much a part of the novel that it’s almost …

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