You're invited to the Calgary launch of Darrel J. McLeod's memoir, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age (Douglas & McIntyre 2018). Darrel will be joined by local author and poet, Joshua Whitehead, who will be the MC for the evening.
Growing up in the tiny village of Smith, Alberta, Darrel J. McLeod was surrounded by his Cree family’s history. In shifting and unpredictable stories, his mother, Bertha, shared narratives of their culture, their family and the cruelty that she and her sisters endured in residential school. McLeod was comforted by her presence and that of his many siblings and cousins, the smells of moose stew and wild peppermint tea, and his deep love of the landscape. Bertha taught him to be fiercely proud of his heritage and to listen to the birds that would return to watch over and guide him at key junctures of his life.
However, in a spiral of events, Darrel’s mother turned wild and unstable, and their home life became chaotic. Sweet and innocent by nature, Darrel struggled to maintain his grades and pursue an interest in music while changing homes many times, witnessing violence, caring for his younger siblings and suffering abuse at the hands of his surrogate father. Meanwhile, his sibling’s gender transition provoked Darrel to deeply question his own sexual identity.
The fractured narrative of Mamaskatch mirrors Bertha’s attempts to reckon with the trauma and abuse she faced in her own life, and captures an intensely moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties and the shared history that both binds and haunts them.
Beautifully written, honest and thought-provoking, Mamaskatch—named for the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared—is ultimately an uplifting account of overcoming personal and societal obstacles. In spite of the traumas of Darrel’s childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped him survive and thrive: her love and strength stayed with him to build the foundation of what would come to be a very fulfilling and adventurous life.
Darrel J. McLeod is Cree from treaty eight territory in Northern Alberta. Before deciding to pursue writing in his retirement, he was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. He holds degrees in French literature and Education from the University of British Columbia. He lives in Sooke, BC, and is working on a second memoir following the events in Mamaskatch. In the spring of 2018, he was accepted into the Banff Writing Studio to advance his first work of fiction.
Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree/nehiyaw, Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is the author of the novel Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp Press) and the poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks, 2017) and the winner of the Governor General's History Award for the Indigenous Arts and Stories Challenge in 2016. Currently he is working on a PhD in Indigenous Literatures and Cultures in the University of Calgary's English department (Treaty 7).
Calgary Urban Affairs Book Club: Building the Cycling City
Tuesday October 23 | 6:30PM - 8:00PM
The Calgary Urban Affairs Book Club is back for edition #5! Our next meetup is Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 6:30 pm at Shelf Life Books. We're reading Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality by Melissa Bruntlett and Chris Bruntlett (co-founders of Modacity). Read the book, then come to an evening discussion with fellow Calgarians interested in urban issues (hosted by Annalise Klingbeil and Cailynn Klingbeil). All are welcome.
Beyond Shelters Launch at Memorial Park Library
Wednesday October 24 | 12:00PM - 2:00PM
You're invited to the launch of Beyond Shelters: Solutions to Homelessness from the Front Lines. Join us at MEMORIAL PARK LIBRARY for a presentation and discussion with James Hughes, the editor, and John Rook, the head of national strategic initiatives for The Mustard Seed. The reading will be from 12-2 PM. Shelf Life Books will act as the bookseller.
Newspapers, television and films cast homeless shelters as places of desperation, sadness and sickness. However, over the last 25 years, homeless shelters have changed dramatically.
Shelters have become more professional and sophisticated in addressing homelessness in their communities. They now do much more than provide a bed and a meal for the night — they offer different methods of intervention, different types of services and different forms of connection to the communities they serve.
This book offers essays by experienced shelter managers who address the future of the homeless shelter in Canada. This diverse collection also includes a chapter by Dr. Sam Tsemberis, the father of the successful Housing First Model. There are contributions by leaders in the homelessness field from across Canada, who have been at the forefront of developing unique services for women, youth, Indigenous people, and families. The days of shelters serving to merely warehouse homeless people out of sight and mind are being replaced by specialized approaches that are reducing homelessness in Canada.
The contributors have years of experience understanding the causes of and solutions to homelessness and the role that shelters can play in achieving their ultimate goal — the elimination of all forms of homelessness in Canada.
James Hughes has worked as a senior administrator in social services for more than fifteen years. He served as Director General of the Old Brewery Mission, Quebec's largest centre serving homeless people. He was the Deputy Minister of Social Development in New Brunswick from 2008 to 2011 and now works for the Montreal based McConnell Foundation. He is the author of Early Intervention: How Canada's social programs can work better, save lives, and often save money. He lives in Montreal.
Writing The Psychic: A Reading
Thursday October 25 | 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Join acclaimed Ontario writers Elizabeth Greene and Kath MacLean along with host Rona Altrows for an evening of readings from their recently released books.
In Translating Air, Kath MacLean imagines conversations between the modernist poet H.D. and Sigmund Freud during the poet’s sessions with him in 1933 to 1934 and the dialogues that continued long afterwards in H.D.’s own mind.
In Elizabeth Greene's A Season Among Psychics, skeptical university instructor Judith takes a course in psychic healing and learns the profound connection between teaching and healing.
In Rona Altrows's At This Juncture, Ariadne Jensen, intent on communicating with Joan of Arc to help a friend heal, finds an unlikely way to reach the Maid of Orléans.
Recognized as an eclectic poet-performer, Kath MacLean’s unique muse and creative delivery attract attention wherever she reads. She is the author of two previous books of poetry, For a Cappuccino on Bloor and Kat among the Tigers. In Translating Air, published with McGill-Queen's University Press in 2018, is her third collection. She lives in Toronto.
Elizabeth Greene has published three volumes of poetry: The Iron Shoes (2007), Moving (2010) and Understories (2014). Her poems, short fiction, and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies across Canada, most recently in Juniper, an online poetry journal, issues 1 and 3. She has poetry forthcoming in the League of Canadian Poets' Tree Anthology, ed. Claudia Radmore and Lesley Strutt, and in Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century, ed. James Deahl. She has also edited/co-edited five books, including We Who Can Fly: Poems, Essays and Memories in Honour of Adele Wiseman,which won the Betty and Morris Aaron Prize (Jewish Book Awards) for Best Scholarship on a Canadian Subject in 1998. She lives in Kingston with her son and two cats.A Season Among Psychics is her debut novel.
Rona Altrows is the author of three books of fiction, At This Juncture, A Run on Hose and Key in Lock, as well as a children's chapbook, The River Throws a Tantrum. With Naomi K. Lewis, she co-edited the anthology Shy. She recently co-edited a second anthology of essays with Julie Sedivy called Waiting. Her work has earned her several awards, including an IPPY silver medal (shared with Lewis), the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, and the 2017 Alberta Literary Award. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
How Can You Think That?!? A Political Book Club
Saturday October 27 | 10:00AM - 12:00AM
A book club for conservatives and liberals who want to get out of their echo chambers and bridge the great divide. Buy the book, read it, and come join us for a lively discussion.
We’ve all felt it: Whether we’ve argued pointlessly with someone on social media, felt our blood pressure rise as we’ve fought over politics with family members, or simply veered delicately away from certain topics, it’s hard to ignore the chasm between those who hold opposing political views. And it feels like it’s getting worse, that politics are getting uglier, and that reasonable discussion is falling by the wayside.
What can ordinary people do to bridge the great divide? We can read books that smart and reasonable people have written in defense of their views and we can talk about these books with others who may or may not wear the political stripes we do.
Come to Shelf Life Books for a monthly book club that does just that. Ideally, participants will have read the book assigned for that day, and will come prepared to discuss it. All of the books on our list will be made available by Shelf Life. We will meet from 10 am to noon on the last Saturday of every month.
The discussions will be led by Julie Sedivy, a local scholar and writer. Julie has taught linguistics and psychology at the University of Calgary and is the lead author of Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What This Says About You. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as Politico, Nautilus, and Scientific American, and she has been a frequent guest on radio stations such as CBC and NPR.
October 27: The Patch—by Chris Turner
November 24: Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism by Nima Sanandaji
January 26: Winning Power: Canadian Campaigning in the 21st Century by Tom Flanagan
February 23: Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them by Susan Delacourt
For her 2018 chapbook, Josephine LoRe created a cento poem, a collage entitled "Poets, Preachers, Politicians and Peace-Makers ... Unity in the words of John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Jr, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi". She then asked Wakefield Brewster, Miranda Krogstad and Chris Evans to collaborate in order to bring the poem alive as a performance piece. Rather than be assigned a voice, each poet chose passages that spoke strongly to them, and the resulting synthesis of voices and messages is compelling and timelessly true and meaningful. We call this collaboration f4sQuare.
On October 30th, f4sQuare will present this cento poem at ShelfLife Books, and additionally each poet will have 10 minutes in which to present their own individual work.
This will be the first live performance of the piece. Wakefield was out of town for family reasons for the Loft112 launch, so a voice recording of the piece was played instead.
Crisp-Maned Bay Launch
Thursday November 08 | 7:00PM - 9:00PM
You're invited to the launch of Nancy Mackenzie's Crisp-Maned Bay (Ekstatis Editions 2018). Nancy will be joined for the reading by local writer Anne Sorbie and the current poet laureate of Calgary, Sheri-D Wilson.
Nancy Mackenzie is the author of several books of poetry and books for children. Her novel, Nerve Line, was published by Ekstasis Editions in 2014. A dressage enthusiast and long-time fan of horseracing, Mackenzie lives in Edmonton, Alberta. She operates a professional writing and editing service called Bronze Horse Communications.
Anne Sorbie was born in Paisley, Scotland and she lives in Calgary. Her fiction, poetry, essays and book reviews have been published by The University of Alberta Press, Frontenac House, and House of Blue Skies; in magazines and journals such as Alberta Views, Geist, and Other Voices; and online with Brick Books, CBC Canada Writes, Geist, and Wax Poetry and Art. You can find Anne’s recent essay, “Whisper Talk,” in the Waiting Anthology, (University of Alberta Press, September 2018). Her novel, Memoirs of a Good Death, was published with Thistledown Press in 2010. Inanna Publications will publish Anne’s first collection of poetry, Falling Backwards Into Mirrors, in 2019.
Sheri-D Wilson is the award-winning author of eleven books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums which combine music and poetry. Known for her electric performance-style, making her a favorite of festivals around the world—she’s read, performed & taught in festivals across Canada, USA, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Mexico, and South Africa.
In her poems, Wilson uses personal narrative to address themes of personal story, social justice, lost languages, bullying, violence against women and the earth. In 2017, she received her Doctor of Letters—Honoris Causa from Kwantlen University, after launching her new collection of poetry entitled, The Book of Sensations(U of C Press). In 2018 she released a full-length CD of poetry and music called Dragon Rouge. She is the current poet laureate of Calgary for the 2018-2020 term.
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