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Keeper of the Blog: A Poet and Textbook Author

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A Major Abstract/Science Poet from Edmonton

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(pb, U of A Press, 2015–signed to me; cover: Ramon Pasternak; design: Alan Brownoff)

Alice Major (1949-) was originally from Scotland and raised in Toronto. She was the first Poet Laureate in Edmonton and is easily one of Canada’s top contemporary poets. Major writes totally unique poems and books which reflect an interest in science, math, and metaphysics. I selected one of her poems, “Thief” for inclusion in my Between the Lines 11 (Nelson) book.

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A Strong SK-BC Poet

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(signed 1992 pb McClelland & Stewart G-G winner; cover: Jane Zednick)

Lorna Crozier (1948-) was born in Swift Current, SK and is the head of the Creative Writing Dept. at U of Victoria. In previous lives, she was a guidance counsellor and English teacher. Crozier has over 15 books of poetry mostly about love, relationships, and nature. She has also written No Longer Two People with her partner Patrick Lane.

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Edmonton’s Edgy Poetess

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(left: cassette by Dead Records; Red Deer College Press, 1990 pb; cover: Gary Campbell, David Wylie)

Edmonton’s Mary Howes (1941-) draws much of her inspiration for her nightmarish erotic poems from her work experience as a nurse. Possessing a memorable, husky voice, she recorded an excellent cassette based on these poems entitled Evidence I Was Here, performed with the avant-garde group Guerilla Welfare.

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The Edmonton Poet-Legend

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(McKenzie reached great heights with Spiritus–a performance poetry trio, 1989-2002)

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(Edmonton’s Jazz Poet)

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(the best poetry ever recorded in Edmonton; top: Waxwings Creative, 2003 CD; cover: Brian Huffman; bottom: L.Q. Productions, 2000 CD)

Yorkton, SK-born Dean Morrison McKenzie (1940-2013) grew up in Hubbard and had long affiliations with the prairie railroad and Beat poetry. His work was influenced by Frost, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti and he gave many powerful readings, often with Spiritus and Edmonton jazz musicians like Lester Quitzau and Andrew Glover. Dean was a musician and painter as well as a long-time popular high school English teacher. One of the best contemporary poets writing in Canada, he and his work can be seen and heard online. Google “Skipping Stone Video” and “Night Benz”, both still on YouTube. (Edmonton’s  Stroll of Poets also put up a webpage of his unique powerful poetry.)

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Father Goose

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(Little, Brown Canada, 1995 dj; cover & photo: Joseph Duff )

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(signed by Lishman)

William Lishman (1939-) inspired a popular Disney movie Fly Away Home, a dramatized version of his work with birds. Lishman modified the migration patterns of Canada geese, whooping cranes, and trumpeter swans via imprinting and the use of an ultralight aircraft he invented. This Blackstock Environmentalist and animal lover also built an underground home and wrote the sequels Father Goose and His Goslings and The New Father Goose.

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Redeemed by Writing: A Governor-General Award-Winner from B.C.

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(rare CD by Cyclops Press, 1998; design: Clint Hutzulak)

Born in Nelson, B.C., Patrick Lane (1939-), brother to poet Red Lane, lived in Vernon and now lives with his partner Lorna Crozier on Vancouver Island. He had a working class background as a choker, truck driver, sawmill worker, and salesman, gradually getting into poetry. His Poems New and Selected won the 1978 Governor General award for poetry. Lane also wrote There Is a Season, an interesting, positive memoir about his love of gardening and his recovery as an alcoholic and cocaine addict.

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Canada’s Master Editor-Anthologist

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(Stoddart pb, 1994; cover: Brant Cowie)

John Robert Colombo (1932-) was born in Kitchener, ON and now lives in Toronto. He worked as an editor for Ryerson, M & S, and the Tamarack Review and has written and edited scores of books, many of them anthologies and helpful reference books on Canadiana such as 1976’s Colombo’s Canadian References. He also co-edited the poetry of a key writer in the early 20th century, W.W.E. Ross, and has left his mark on Canadian culture for decades.

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Another Winnipeg North-End Prose Writer

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(NeWest Publishers, 1980 dj)

Ed Kleiman (1932-2013) grew up in the famed North-End melting pot of Winnipeg and later became a respected professor of English at U of MB. Kleiman studied with Northrop Frye and later made his mark with three collections of short stories The World Beaters (1998), A New-found Ecstasy (1988) and his first and best collection shown above. Highly recommended: “North End Faust” which I used in two eds. of  Inside Stories II (Harcourt).

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