A Woman Clothed In Words
Coteau Books / 27 June 2012

A Woman Clothed in Words by Anne Szumigalski Published by Coteau Books Review by Kris Brandhagen $16.95 CAD 978155050478 The name Anne Szumigalski has long been ubiquitous in Saskatchewan’s writing community. According to A Woman Clothed in Words editor Mark Abley, “[t]he depth and breadth of her involvement in the Saskatchewan literary community are hard to overestimate. Anne was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, a founding editor of Grain, and the first writer-in-residence at the Saskatoon Public Library”. She was a complex writer, who refused to be nailed down to a specific poetics, by herself, by anyone else, or even by her poems, preferring to always push boundaries, in terms of writing in all genres, and writing in-between genres, as well as collaborating with all sorts of other arts media and professionals. It is noted by Abley that, “the interplay between language and the female body shapes much of her work.” We find out where the title of this book comes from in an excerpt from the “Thin Pale Man”: …here’s the river again and the ice and Anna giving herself to love all garments fall from her but the garment of words and what could be…

First In Canada: An Aboriginal Book of Days

First in Canada: An Aboriginal Book of Days by Jonathan Anuik Published by Canadian Plains Research Center Press Review by Chris Ewing-Weisz $24.95 978-088977-240-3 Every schoolchild has heard of La Vérendrye, but how many know the name of the Cree guide who made the canoe route map he relied on? We all know about the Plains of Abraham and Sir John A. Macdonald, but how many of us know about the numbered treaties, or when Native Canadians got the vote? Jonathan Anuik’s sumptuously illustrated, made-for-browsing book brings a hidden history to light. Hundreds of intriguing facts, arranged by date, alternate with photographs and short writeups about First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people across Canada, from earliest prehistory to the present. First in Canada celebrates Native achievements in every field: art, literature, music, architecture, politics, medicine, sports, religion, theatre, education, and more. Also noted are the darker elements of our shared history: conflicts from the North West Rebellion to Oka; Richard Cardinal’s suicide and David Marshall’s wrongful imprisonment; the long and tangled history of legislation and activism attempting to sort out the relationship between Native and more recently arrived Canadians. Many items are only briefly noted; readers will want to turn…

Lilies, Irises, & Orchids of Saskatchewan
Nature Saskatchewan / 27 June 2012

Lilies, Irises, & Orchids of Saskatchewan by Vernon L. Harms and Anna L. Leighton Published by Nature Saskatchewan Review by Sandy Bonny $ 19.95 ISBN-13 987-0-921104-28-5 There is something about flowers—from Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz of the Flowers” to Spike Jonze’s film “Adaptation,” our culture celebrates their transient beauty above the reproductive bodies of other flora. Intriguing though mushrooms and pinecones may be, they just don’t have the aura of mystique that draws floraphiles to the many-coloured monocots. In this keyed field guide from Nature Saskatchewan, professional and amateur botanists are introduced to Saskatchewan’s fifty-one species of lilies, irises and orchids, twenty-one of which are considered rare or endangered. The guide’s authors, Anna Leighton and Vernon L. Harms, are key players in the Flora of Saskatchewan Association’s volunteer-driven initiative to document the province’s flora, and in this offering they supplement detailed line drawings, colour photographs, and identification keys with interesting notes and commentary regarding the distribution and seasonal appearances of each flowering species. True to the diversity of species at large, the guide includes both native species and ‘garden-escapes.’ Thus, we see cultivated chives beside Red ‘Tiger’ Lilies in the Lily Family, and introduced German Irises alongside native Blue Flag in the…