Yesterday – ah yesterday must be remembered sweetly by any who woke in Edmonton today, myself included. There was an unpleasant gift waiting for Edmontonians this morning; in many places frozen slush several inches deep topped sidewalks and roadways, accompanied by gusting and unpredictable winds. These conditions conspired to take me from my bike to the hard cold ground on two occasions while riding to work, and the sudden freeze and winds have also put our dear Press in danger from falling trees! Even as I write, the specialists from ArborCare Tree Service are clearing away a fallen conifer from our front step. Of the many hazards I imagined I might encounter interning at the University of Alberta Press, I thought the philosophical tree more likely than the physical.
We hosted Alice’s launch at Greenwoods this year. Alice did a remarkable reading. The poems in Memory’s Daughter are so intimate, and yet she was able to perform them for us with both dignity and aplomb.
There was a wonderful turnout. It was April Fool’s Day and the start of Poetry Month. We had some playful eats, including spring rolls to celebrate the start of spring. Alice brought some amazing treats from the Duchess Bake Shop here in town. The macaroons are to die for.
Here is my introduction of Alice at the launch.
The U of A Press has been fortunate enough to publish the three most recent of Alice’s eight collections of poetry: The Occupied World, The Office Tower Tales, and, of course, Memory’s Daughter.
Alice has won many awards and accolades, including the very special Pat Lowther Award for poetry and, most recently, Lifetime Achievement by an Artist. The latter was presented to Alice by the City of Edmonton and the Professional Arts Coalition of Edmonton, just a few days ago.
Alice was also Edmonton’s first poet laureate, from 2005 to 2007, where she made a tremendous difference, not least in inaugurating Edmonton’s now-annual poetry festival. Her appearance as artistic director, at one of the media launches for the festival, wearing a red feather boa and a tam, was indicative of her panache, media savvy, and sense of fun.
My first introduction to Alice’s work was through the Threshold collection, an anthology of Alberta writing published by the U of A Press in 1999. I loved her voice, her polish, her intelligence, her honesty, and her eloquence. Obviously, so do my colleagues.
Tonight, we are proud to launch Memory’s Daughter: Alice’s homage to her parents, here at Greenwoods, one of Edmonton’s finest bookstores.
With no further ado, here is Alice.
Scan the roster of this year’s Edmonton Poetry Festival and you will see a line up of tremendous talent from across Canada, and beyond. Peer a little deeper and you may notice that several of this year’s performers are either UAP authors or UAP staff. It’s not entirely uncommon for university presses to publish poetry. Many do, and they do it with the same eye (and ear) to originality and quality that they apply to the academic research they publish.
What’s really heartening is to see a university publisher participating in the larger community to showcase and celebrate the ranging diversity and talent among local and visiting wordsmiths.
This year UAP is thrilled to hitch its wagon to Po Fest’s powerful line up of events. Our annual Literary Cocktails is something of a spring tradition now, an opportunity for us to cut loose and fête a few exemplary authors. This year we present UAP authors Robert Kroetsch, Alice Major, and rob mclennan to share some of their work and a glass of wine, or two.
Senior Editor for the Press Peter Midgley is a wicked polyglot and an accomplished poet in at least two countries. He will be working with several other poets and translators (including UAP contributors Alice Major, Hélène Garrett, Naomi McIlwraith, and Jalal Barzanji) at two key events: Found in Translation; and, Try Your Tongue at Translation.
And, not to be outdone, Communications & Marketing Assistant and accomplished monoglot Jeff Carpenter is slated for three events: he and collaborator glenN robsoN (together they are Tonguebath) will lead the Sound Poetry Workshop; then Tonguebath will appear with Kimmy Beach at The Writers Corner at the Library; and finally, Jeff is going solo for the HERMEN reading.
Be sure to visit the Edmonton Poetry Festival website to find out what else is going down April 19 – 25.
Filed under: events, news | Tagged: Alice Major, Edmonton Poetry Festival, Found in Translation, Hélène Garret, HERMEN, Jeff Carpenter, Literary Cocktails, rob mclennan, Robert Kroetsch, Sound Poetry, Tonguebath | 2 Comments »