I’m very pleased now to present a review of My Mother Did Not Tell Stories by my writing colleague and friend, Donna Sinclair. Donna is a respected journalist and published author of numerous books. Her most recent works are The Long View (Northstone), a year of personal essays, and Tommy’s Angel (Copperhouse), a picture book for children (with illustrator Bill Kimber). I have especially enjoyed A Woman’s Book of Days, I and II, which offer a year’s worth of wit and wisdom, both political and spiritual, in daily meditations delivered from a distinctly feminine perspective.
My favourite segment of Laurie Kruk’s lovely collection is in the middle, the River Valley Poems. These are simultaneously the stories of one woman (not overly skilled in bush craft) encountering nature; an illumination of two solitudes (her anglophone family’s newly-purchased cabin is in francophone country); and insights into mother love, leavened with love of the land.
There’s more, of course. Kruk knows how to pack every phrase with meaning. We can read one poem as feminist commentary if we like; another as a passionate but subtle critique of our civilization’s eternal dependency on plastic garbage bags. Kruk brings new life to Robert Frosts’s dictum that poetry should say one thing and mean another.
Kruk is articulate, earthy, amused, and respectful. Read “Ritual of the Mass” and be at once entertained and inspired. Really. This is affection (in the face of some olfactory difficulties) for all that is meant by living fully in the body, coupled with gratitude for life itself.
Indeed, her poetry is witty in the traditional sense: a collision of ideas that compel new insight, a gust of laughter, an echo that returns throughout the day.
Laurie Kruk’s mother may not have told stories. But anyone who picks up this brilliant book will be grateful that her daughter does.
—Donna Sinclair, author and journalist
April 24, 2013
.and I am equally proud to announce another book publication, JUST arriving this month…. It is a literary anthology of poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction essays focusing on the myriad ways twenty-first century women (and some men) ‘write the motherland’. I was delighted to co-edit it with award-winning American poet and essayist Jane Satterfield….and excited to meet a large number of talented writers from across North America. Truly a talented collection of authors who ‘cross borders’ in numerous ways.
I will attach book flyer next.
Dear Friends and Fans of Can. Lit.,
I am now updating my page with news of TWO new book projects that I’m proud to have been a part of….the first one is called Double-Voicing the Canadian Short Story, and it is a scholarly yet accessible study of eight acclaimed writers of Canadian short stories….Sandra Birdsell, Timothy Findley, Jack Hodgins, Thomas King, Alistair MacLeod, Olive Senior, Carol Shields and Guy Vanderhaeghe. It also includes a short story by the author, an homage to the form and these amazing Canadian authors. It was published by Ottawa University Press in May 2016.
Here I am at the book launch in Calgary, with two other Ottawa UP authors….(I’m the short one in the middle!).
As spring growth arrives, I am celebrating the fruit of my winter-time labours: my newest book, just released mid-May by Ottawa University Press.
The long winter has its challenges, especially for those in the ‘near North’….but it is also the season of storytelling, dreaming, reading (including teaching ‘Can. Lit’) and ‘indoor work’ such as writing….Now that we are released joyously into the wider world of green, it is wonderful to connect with readers and writers though new media like Demeter Press‘s ‘blog,’ which featured some of their creative writers. As a Mom-poet, as well as a Mom-prof., I was pleased to be included. Here I chat with Katherine Barrett, former editor-in-chief of LITERARY MAMA, about my ‘underground’ life as a poet.
At the end of September, I was pleased to participate in “Water (W)rites,” our hometown response to “100 Thousand Poets for Change.” The theme of water and protection of water was a brilliant choice, as we are not only surrounded by water in our community, but confronting the ‘Energy East” pipeline project, which would use existing natural gas pipelines to transport dangerous substances across and, perhaps, into our drinking water source, Trout Lake. Standing on a downtown corner,I read my poems, “The River Wife” and “The Temagami Speaks: June.” Afterwards, I went for a late-season dip in Trout Lake with friends Karin and Tim Robertson. Picture attached.
I was moved by Tim’s “Prayers of the People”, recited on this day:
Great Spirit, Creator God, Ultimate Reality
God who we know through stories/God who we know through dreams/God who we know through reflection
You poke through the boundaries of our understanding/like spokes cascading through the clouds over Lake Nipissing/
You whirl us up out of the ordinary/like a water spout touching the water on the southern shore/
You crash over our bedrock habit consciousness/like metres-high waves pounding and smoothing the granite short line”….
Like water, poetry is a natural, precious resource, needed for life in its completness.