Poetry Adventure at Tall Grass Prairie

On September 24th, 2022, the Manitoba Writers’ Guild sent representatives to the Tall Grass Prairie to support Turnstone Press and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to promote Sarah Ens’ poetry book, Flyway. Despite the rain, Susan Rocan and Anna Valdron headed south to meet up with a group of poetry and nature enthusiasts. Just as Sarah finished reading lyrical poems from Flyway, the grey clouds thinned, the rain stopped and the group was able to explore the beautiful prairie landscape with conservationist, Norm Gregoire, who led them through “one of the most biologically diverse and productive grasslands in North America”.

(To learn more and keep up to date with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, you can sign up for their e-newsletter, The Leaflet. To donate to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, please visit their online donation page.)

Once back at the Interpretive Centre, Sarah posed questions  as writing prompts to the group who, in turn, wrote about and shared their experience, how the prairie landscape inspired them, each one expressing their love of nature.

Guild member Phyllis Cherrett described the experience, “It was a grey day, but perfect weather for a guided tour of the Tall Grass Prairie reserve after a brief introduction to Sarah Enns’ thoughtful poetry. The ground was soft and slightly squishy underfoot, pillowed with tussocky grass alive with tiny frogs. Birds stood out clearly against the low-slung clouds and flung themselves through the air.

“After the tour Sarah offered several writing prompts, and time to follow them in, and the writing time was well judged-just long enough to get some work done, but too short to get really nervous about the product. Several of us read from what we had written.

“Lots of fun, new information, and possibly the beginning of another chapbook, depending on how the pictures turned out.”

(To purchase Sarah’s book, Flyway, please visit Turnstone Press.)

The afternoon was enjoyed by all who attended the event. Some participants, who were unfamiliar with us, dropped by our table to learn a little more about the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and we shared information about the Guild and upcoming programs, such as the Creating a Docudrama workshop series beginning October 20, 2022 and Dennis Valdron’s Self-Publishing workshop series beginning in February. For further information on our programs, please email manitobawritersguild3@gmail.com.


Report on Angeline Schellenberg’s Book Chat

The August Book Chat featured award-winning poet, Angeline Schellenberg. She read from her book Fields of Light and Stone. The first poem she read with her son because she’d written it in the ‘voices’ of her grandparents. Angeline spoke the words attributed to her grandmother and her son read the part of her grandfather. All her touching poems from Fields of Light and Stone were based on her grandparents’ emigration experience and farming life in Canada.

During the Q&A, audience members asked Angeline about her creative process; working on the book layout, the editing for publication, etc. Afterwards, four audience members shared their own poems during the Open Mic part of the evening. Danie Botha shared a poem from his book 2 Bowls of Joy. Phyllis Cherritt read about a remembrance of her mother. Penny Haywood, inspired by one of Angeline’s poems about a garden, read her own poem about a garden. Emmanuel Okoh read I Kooti, published by the Canadian League of Poets.

I find it fascinating, during these Book Chats, how the Featured Author’s readings often inspire the audience to share their work with similar themes. I highly recommend you join us for Book Chat #5 on September 9, 2020 at 7 pm with Lauren Carter, who will be featured in the next post.

Reminder of Upcoming Events

Before delving into our programs, if you are a member writer wanting to join a Writing Group, look for the link to our Writing Group Survey in your inbox. If you did not receive the email and wish to take part in the survey to find a group tailored to your needs, please email us for the link at:(manitobawritersguild3@gmail.com).
Now for our upcoming events:
August 4th at 1 pm: Kids Book Chats
We want to welcome all members along with their children and grandchildren. This free-to-members event will feature Bill Richardson reading his award-winning book The Promise Basket, and his illustrator, Slavka Kolesar. Q&A to follow. Email the Guild for the Zoom details.
August 6th at 7 pm: Writing Rants and Ramblings
Come to your video screen to chat about your writing and discuss issues that are close to your heart. All are welcome. Email the Guild for the Zoom details.
August 12 at 7 pm: Book Chat#4
All member poets (and those interested in poetry) should sign up to hear Angeline Schellenberg, ask her questions about her poetry and maybe share some of your own.  Email the Guild for the Zoom details.

Book Chat #4 – Angeline Schellenberg

Book Chat # 3 with Joan Thomas was a lot of fun! Joan read a new piece of writing. Getting this sneak peak was very exciting for those in attendance, of which there were seven. Three participants read their own work during the Open Mic. The rest of us preferred to sit back and listen.

Our fourth Book Chat will take place on August 12 and will feature poet Angeline Schellenberg. This is a free-for-members-only event. If you are a current member of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and would like to take part in this virtual event, please email the Guild (manitobawritersguild3@gmail.com) to receive the Zoom information and let us know if you would also like to take part in the Open Mic, which will take place after Angeline’s reading and Q&A.

Angeline Schellenberg is a poet living in Treaty 1 territory (Winnipeg). Her first full-length collection, Tell Them It Was Mozart (Brick Books, 2016) received three Manitoba Book Awards and was a finalist for a ReLit Award for Poetry. In addition to publishing three new chapbooks, in 2019 she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Arc Poetry Magazine‘s Poem of the Year. Angeline has served as Deep Bay artist-in-residence (Riding Mountain National Park), a Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program mentor, a Poetry In Voice performance judge, and host of the Speaking Crow reading series. Her second book is Fields of Light and Stone (University of Alberta Press, 2020).


Financial assistance provided by the Manitoba Arts Council

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