• Hot off the Press

    The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior

    Ernest Robert Zimmermann Michel S. Beaulieu & David K. Ratz, Editors


    Standard candles

    Alice Major


    Magazines, Travel, and Middlebrow Culture


    Faye Hammill and Michelle Smith


    The Chinchaga Firestorm

    Cordy Tymstra


    Why Grow Here

    Kathryn Chase Merrett



    Prairie Bohemian

    Trevor W. Harrison



    A Canadian Girl in South Africa

    E. Maud Graham Michael Dawson, Catherine Gidney, and Susanne M. Klausen, Editors



    Overcoming Conflicting Loyalties

     Irene Sevcik, Michael Rothery, Nancy Nason-Clark and Robert Pynn


    Fundamentals of Public Relations and Marketing Communications in Canada

    William Wray Carney & Leah-Ann Lymer, Editor


    War Paintings of the Tsuu T'ina Nation


    Arni Brownstone


    Upgrading Oilsands Bitumen and Heavy Oil


    Murray R. Gray



    From the Elephant's Back

    Lawrence Durrell James Gifford, Editor


    Trying Again to Stop Time

    Jalal Barzanji 


    A Year of Days

    Myrl Coulter



    A Tale of Monstrous Extravagance

    Tomson Highway



    Street Sex Work and Canadian Cities

    Shawna Ferris



    Theatre, Teens, Sex Ed


    Jan Selman & Jane Heather



    Landscapes of War and Memory


    Sherrill Grace 



    Personal Modernisms


    James Gifford


    Conrad Kain


    Zac Robinson, Editor



    Regenerations / Régénérations


    Marie Carrière & Patricia Demers, Editors


    small things left behind

    Ella Zeltserman


    Climber's Paradise

    PearlAnn Reichwein


    Aboriginal Populations

    Frank Trovato & Anatole Romaniuk



    Dreaming of Elsewhere

    Esi Edugyan



    Dennis Cooley


    A Most Beautiful Deception


    Melissa Morelli Lacroix


    as if


    E.D. Blodgett


    Will not forget both laughter and tears


    Tomoko Mitani

    Yukari F. Meldrum, Translator


    Sanctioned Ignorance: The Politics of Knowledge Production and the Teaching of the Literatures of Canada


    Paul Martin


    The Remarkable Chester Ronning: Proud Son of China

    Chester Ronning COVER2

    Brian L. Evans



    Just Getting Started: Edmonton Public Library's First 100 Years, 1913-2013


    Todd Babiak


    Shy: An Anthology


    Naomi K. Lewis & Rona Altrows, Editors


    The Peace-Athabasca Delta: Portrait of a Dynamic Ecosystem

    UAP Peace Athabasca COVER1

    Kevin P. Timoney



    At the limit of breath: Poems on the films of Jean-Luc Godard


    Stephen Scobie



    Boom and Bust Again: Policy Challenges for a Commodity-Based Economy


    David L. Ryan, Editor



    Ethics for the Practice of Psychology in Canada, Revised and Expanded Edition


    Derek Truscott & Kenneth H. Crook


    Métis in Canada: History, Identity, Law and Politics


    Christopher Adams, Gregg Dahl & Ian Peach, Editors


    You Haven't Changed a Bit, Stories

    cover with line

    Astrid Blodgett


    Massacre Street


    Paul Zits


    Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book


    Lawrence Hill


    The Last Temptation of Bond


    Kimmy Beach


    Recognition and Modes of Knowledge


    Teresa G. Russo



    Healing Histories


    Laurie Meijers Drees


    Travels and Tales of Miriam Green Ellis: Pioneer Journalist of the Canadian West


    Patricia Demers


    Disinherited Generations:

    Our Struggle to Reclaim Treaty Rights for First Nation Women and their Descendants


    Nellie Carlson & Kathleen Steinhauer as told to Linda Goyette


    Canada's Constitutional Revolution


    Barry L. Strayer


    We Gambled Everything

    The Life and Time of an Oilman

    Arne Nielsen


    Canadian Folk Art to 1950

    John A. Fleming & Michael J. Rowan

    James A. Chambers, Photographer

    978-0-88864-556-2 (paper)

    978-0-88864-630-9 (cloth)


    Game Plan: A Social History of Sport in Alberta

    Karen Wall


    Dramatic Licence

    Louise Ladouceur Translator Richard Lebeau


    Countering Displacements

    Daniel Coleman, Erin Goheen Glanville, Wafaa Hasan & Agnes Kramer-Hamstra, Editors


    Cross-Media Ownership and Democratic Practice in Canada

    Walter C. Soderlund, Colette Brin, Lydia Miljan & Kai Hilderbrandt


    Civilizing the Wilderness

    A. A. den Otter


    Anti-Saints: The New Golden Legend of Sylvain Maréchal

    Sheila Delany


    Imagining Ancient Women

    Annabel  Lyon


    Continuations 2

    Douglas Barbour, Sheila E. Murphy


    Baba's Kitchen Medicines: 

    Michael Mucz


    Pursuing China: 

    Memoir of a Beaver Liaison Officer

    Brian L. Evans


    The Grads Are Playing Tonight!:

    The Story of the Edmonton Commercial Graduates Basketball Club

    M. Ann Hall


    Alfalfa to Ivy:

    Memoir of a Harvard Medical School Dean

    Joseph B. Martin


    Not Drowning But Waving

    Susan Brown, Jeanne Perreault, Jo-Ann Wallace & Heather Zwicker, Editors


    Narratives of Citizenship

    Aloys  N.M.  Fleischmann, Nancy  Van Styvendale & Cody  McCarroll, Editors


    Winter in Fireland

    Nicholas  Coghlan


    The Sasquatch at Home Traditional Protocols & Modern Storytelling

    Eden Robinson


    At the Interface of Culture and Medicine

    Earle  H.  Waugh, Olga  Szafran & Rodney  A.  Crutcher, Editors


    Apostrophes VII: Sleep, You, a Tree

    E.  D.  Blodgett


    Demeter Goes Skydiving

    Susan McCaslin


    Kat Among the Tigers

    Kath MacLean


    Retooling the Humanities

    Daniel Coleman & Smaro Kamboureli, Editors


    Will the Real Alberta Please Stand Up?

    Geo Takach


    Un art de vivre par temps de catastrophe

    Dany Laferrière


    Rudy Wiebe: Collected Stories, 1955–2010

    Rudy Wiebe Introduction by Thomas Wharton


    Prodigal Daughter: A Journey to Byzantium

    Myrna Kostash


    The Contemporary Arab Reader on Political Islam

    Ibrahim Abu-Rabi', Editor


    Locating the Past / Discovering the Present: Perspectives on Religion, Culture, and Marginality

    David Gay & Stephen R. Reimer, Editor


    "Collecting Stamps Would Have Been More Fun": Canadian Publishing and the Correspondence of Sinclair Ross, 1933–1986

    Jordan Stouck & David Stouck, Editors


    The Beginning of Print Culture in Athabasca Country

    Patricia Demers, Naomi McIlwraith & Dorothy Thunder, Translators

    Arok Wolvengrey, Foreword

    Patricia Demers, Introduction


    The Measure of Paris

    Stephen Scobie


    Emblems of Empire: Selections from the Mactaggart Art Collection

    John E. Vollmer & Jacqueline Simcox


    Taking the Lead: Strategies and Solutions from Female Coaches

    Sheila Robertson, Editor Dru Marshall, Introduction


    Ukrainian Through its Living Culture: Advanced Level Language Textbook

    Alla Nedashkivska


    Bosnia: In the Footsteps of Gavrilo Princip

    Tony Fabijancic


    wild horses

    rob mclennan


    Memory's Daughter

    Alice Major


    Too Bad: Sketches Toward a Self-Portrait

    Robert Kroetsch


    J.B. Harkin: Father of Canada's National Parks

    E. J. (Ted) Hart


    People of the Lakes: Stories of Our Van Tat Gwich’in Elders/Googwandak Nakhwach’ànjòo Van Tat Gwich’in

    Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Shirleen Smith


    The rose that grew from concrete: Teaching and Learning with Disenfranchised Youth


    Diane Wishart


    The Meteorites of Alberta


    Anthony  J.  Whyte / Chris Herd, Foreword


    When Edmonton Was Young


    Tony Cashman / Leslie Latta-Guthrie, Foreword


    Heavy Burdens on Small Shoulders: The Labour of Pioneer Children on the Canadian Prairies


    Sandra Rollings-Magnusson


    Retiring the Crow Rate: A Narrative of Political Management


    Arthur Kroeger / John  Fraser, Afterword


  • Like Us on Facebook

Paul Hjartarson introduces Robert Kroetsch

Paul Hjartarson’s apt words welcome a master wordsmith and narrator at Grant MacEwan’s The Future of Story Conference, February 6, 2010:

What a fascinating conference this has proved! As Peter mentioned, I am a professor in English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. The Future of the Story conference combines two of my abiding interests: storytelling and remediation, that is, the interaction of old and new media.  A colleague, Kristine Smitka, and I put together a panel on remediation for a book history conference held in Toronto last June, so I have listened here with considerable interest to presentations and discussions about how new media are reshaping storytelling. My congratulations to Scot Morrison and Sherrell Steele on a most successful conference.

Studhorse Men Robert Kroetsch & Paul Hjartarson

Studhorse Men Robert Kroetsch & Paul Hjartarson

When I first heard about the MacEwan conference on storytelling, I was intrigued by the apparent premise. I knew that newspaper and book publishing were in trouble; and last year, like many of you, I watched stock markets tumble as bank after bank in the U.S. came up empty.  This year, closer to home, again like many of you, I witnessed the collapse of the Oilers (and given the presence here of Aretha and others Calgarians, one might add the Flames). But I had no idea story itself was in trouble. February is mid-season break month in the NHL, a time when sports casters and columnists, like some politicians, recalibrate—when they worry team and player stats, when talk show hosts feast on injury reports and trade rumors, when complaints about the Oilers or the Flames leaves little room in day-to-day discourse for either politics or, heaven help us, the weather.

But how does one fashion a rescue package for the story, put together a trade big and smart enough to get Team Story out of the league basement? The U.S. banking crisis needed its Ben Bernanke, recently reappointed for a second term as Chair of the Federal Reserve; and the Oilers, as most fans will tell you, needed a change of coaching staff and turned to Pat Quinn and Tom Renney. For those intent on fashioning a game-changing trade for Team Story, a trade certain to propel it to story’s equivalent of the Stanley Cup final, a trade that might leave even Don Cherry speechless, I have just two words: Robert Kroetsch. You’ve got to like this fellow. He has forty-five years in the league, for the majority of which he has worn the captain’s jersey. As a storyteller, he is light on his feet and well-known as a play maker, appearing out of nowhere to make the breakout pass:

the gone stranger
the mysterious text
the necessary
transfer (“The Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof”)

Kroetsch stickhandles words with more skill than Gretzky handles the puck—and that’s saying something. He’s been named to the all-star team countless times, has represented Canada at international events more often than hockey’s “Mr. Canada,” Ryan Smyth, and he has the hardware to prove it: he is a Governor-General’s Award winner, a member of the Royal Society and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Stats. Okay, okay, I know you need stats. (“Talk’s cheap,” my grandpa reminded me on more than one occasion, “whiskey costs money.”) Stats I’ll give you, but you need to know upfront that stats alone won’t tell the whole story. What you need to know is this: whether Kroetsch is on the ice or behind the bench, he invariably proves a game changer, whether he’s co-founding boundary 2: a journal of postmodern literature (1972) with Bill Spanos or elaborating the “elegant grammar of delay,” the gap between language in narrative, in Field Notes. Some critics have opined that Kroetsch doesn’t always finish his checks or make the obvious play. His stats sheet, though, tells another story.  “Hearing the silence of the world, the failure of the world to announce meaning,” he remarked in an essay some years ago, “we tell stories” (“Beyond Nationalism: A Prologue”). And tell stories, including tall tales, he has—not only in award-winning novels and in innovative books of poetry but in ground-breaking essays and in any number of interviews. Kroetsch has published no less than nine novels, from But We Are Exiles (1965), The Words of My Roaring (1966) and The Studhorse Man (1969)—widely recognized as a game changer—to The Puppeteer (1992) and The Man From the Creeks (1998). He is also the author of thirteen books of poetry, from The Stone Hammer Poems (1976) and Seed Catalogue (1977)—another game changer, surely—to The Snowbird Poems (2004) and the book launched here today, Too Bad: Sketches Toward a Self Portrait. In the off- season he has published at least eight other books, from Alberta (1968) and The Crow Journals (1980) to The Lovely Treachery of Words (1989), A Likely Story (1995), and Abundance: The Mackie House Conversations about the Writing Life (2007).

As Kroetsch’s essays and interviews attest, he is, like Montreal Canadiens’ goalie Ken Dryden, not only an all-star player but a gifted analyst of the game of storytelling. Kroetsch’s writing ranks among the most sustained, the most profound and the most layered excavations—an archaeology, one might say—of story, its relation to myth, to narrative, and to audience (among other things) produced in Canada, indeed, anywhere in the English-speaking world in the past century. That’s not a small claim and certainly not a claim I make lightly: it is truly a remarkable body of work. As an epigraph to the poem “Mile Zero” Kroetsch includes the following passage from Ken Dryden’s book-length analysis of hockey titled simple The Game. Kroetsch includes the passage because it applies no less to storytelling than to hockey. “Hockey,” Dryden remarks,

is a transition game: offence to defence, defence to offence, one team to another. Hundreds of tiny fragments of action, some leading somewhere, most going nowhere. Only one thing is clear. Grand designs don’t work.

Oilers head coach Pat Quinn knows that practitioners of his game need to be light on their feet. Playful. Storytelling is no different. If the Oilers’ top two lines could match Kroetsch step for step, could stickhandle the puck with the skill he brings to words, the Edmonton Oilers would be a high-speed train to the Stanley Cup final.

You know, I am sure, the story of the Oilers’ biggest hockey trade and of Gretzky’s tears. Student of the game that he is, Kroetsch reminds us of another, all but forgotten story: that Montreal Canadiens’ goalie-turned-forward Howie Morenz proposed to the painter Emily Carr in the midst of scoring a goal. (Now that’s a story we must never forget.)

Morenz makes a breakaway down the ice.
He fakes to the left; he draws out the goalie.
He stops. He blushes and says, to all
of the Montreal Forum: Emily Carr, I love you. (“Advice to My Friends”)

(The veteran storyteller here playing off Foster Hewitt’s trademark, “He shoots, he scooooooresss.”) Kroetsch also recounts the story of the subsequent wedding. Among the guests is poet bp nichol, who has this advice for the hockey star and groom Howie Morenz:

Work on your line, bp quip (he is wearing
his Buddha shirt) when introduced to the
famous hockey player by Miss Carr (who will retain
her maiden name). Keep it edgy.

Certainly this latest book, Too Bad: Sketches Toward a Self Portrait, demonstrates that Kroetsch himself continues to work on his line, to keep it edgy, to practice what in this poem bp preaches, and thus to live up to the nickname fellow storytellers long ago gave him. Please join me in welcoming to the face-off circle Robert Kroetsch.

Thank-you Paul for this exhilarating speech!

The Annual Inventory Count at UAP

We recently survived another formal inventory count at the U of A warehouse (SMS). We go over once a year and make our colleagues’ lives miserable. So we thought we’d take a cake with us.

The cake had the cover of Too Bad on it, because some of the guys enjoyed the fact that here was a book with a picture of a guy looking down his pants. We thought it was all too appropriate, given that it is “too bad” that we had to get all of our books down off of many racks.

Our colleagues at SMS, Paul and Joe, were absolutely marvelous. They practically drove the forklifts out of juice (one is the Cadillac of forklifts – the red one).

They were made particularly miserable by our penchant for amalgamating boxes onto pallets that were almost empty. Paul was very concerned, but I swore that I had kept perfect notes and would email them to him right away. Of course, it’s more paperwork for him: mea culpa!

The whole team turned up for the morning to help count. Always an exercise in team-building, and once again was a major change from our usual routine.

Sharon, Mike, Mary Lou, and Jeff were the "early birds."

UAP staff in action.

There were some fun moments: Drew suggested we learn how to make campfires from a 9-volt battery and steel wool. Jeff took a relaxation break on another pallet, which didn’t look particularly comfortable!

The staff of the University of Alberta Press would like to thank all of our colleagues for their support and hard work. We couldn’t do it without you.

Hope you enjoyed the cake!

Skydive for Africa!

Scott Hayes is a great guy and a book review editor with the St. Albert Gazette. He is collecting pledges for “Skydive for Africa” and needs to raise $800. If he manages that, he’ll skydive for free, and scare the bejesus out of himself. I’ve made a donation, and encourage anyone who is concerned about health, education and poverty alleviation for children in Uganda to do the same.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers