Long Walk, The
University of Regina Press / 9 November 2016

The Long Walk by Jan Zwicky Published by University of Regina Press Review by Cassidy McFadzean $19.95 ISBN 9780889774490 Jan Zwicky, the Governor General’s award-winning author of more than a dozen books of poetry and non-fiction, returns with a new poetry collection, The Long Walk. Zwicky has released titles with such celebrated publishers as Brick Books and Gaspereau Press, and The Long Walk marks her debut with the University of Regina Press – the first poetry release of its Oskana Poetry & Poetics imprint. The Long Walk is a wide-ranging collection that addresses environmental devastation and the ongoing refugee crisis alongside responses to Brahms and Simplikios. The diverse poems of the book’s four sections are unified by the motif of walking as a means of bearing witness to the world. “What will you do, / now that you sense the path is unraveling / beneath you?” the speaker asks of her own heart in the opening poem, “Courage.” The poem is as much a plea for the poet to have courage in delving into the difficult subject matter to follow as it is for the reader, and she instructs us to “step closer to the edge.” For Zwicky, bearing witness…

Art of Immersive Soundscapes
University of Regina Press / 27 October 2016

Art of Immersive Soundscapes Edited by Pauline Minevich and Ellen Waterman Published by University of Regina Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $39.95 ISBN 9-780889-772588 Music, laughter, the rustling wind: sound enriches our lives. Of course it can also work the other way, as anyone with belligerent neighbours can attest. Sound is an interesting field of study for scientists and artists. I’d never heard of “immersive soundscapes,” and was curious to learn what they are, why they matter, and who’s creating them. Enter editors Pauline Minevich (associate professor in the Department of Music, University of Regina) and Ellen Waterman (dean of the School of Music and professor of musicologies at Memorial University of Newfoundland), who collected the disparate papers presented at the 2007 international conference “Intersections: Music and Sound, Music and Identity,” held in Regina, and published them and a DVD of the presenters’ audio and video explorations with sound in the book Art of Immersive Soundscapes. Combining science and art, rural and urban, nature and technology, macro and micro, the featured composers in this book show us a fresh and interesting way to experience and understand our social and physical worlds. The interdisciplinary “soundscape movement” began in the 1960s…

Knowledge Seeker, The
University of Regina Press / 28 September 2016

The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality by Blair Stonechild Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $32.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-417-9 What is your purpose in life? This is one of the questions Blair Stonechild explores in The Knowledge Seeker: Embracing Indigenous Spirituality. In researching this book, Stonechild, a member of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation in Saskatchewan, interviewed numerous Aboriginal Elders. Among them is his mentor, Danny Musqua, who achieved the title of Knowledge Keeper, earning the right to pass sacred stories on to the next generation. Stonechild’s exploration of Aboriginal spirituality is both philosophical and practical. According to him, Indigenous spirituality has a place far beyond the classroom, and the importance of this book is self-evident: “Indigenous spirituality holds the key for transforming our future.” He explores the belief that when we die, we actually go home to the spirit world from which we came and reunite with the Creator. He also makes a strong case for reincarnation, citing several examples of children who spoke convincingly of having lived previous lives. In looking at the larger picture of life, Stonechild views all people as one. “Humans are like leaves on a tree,” he says, “all thinking they…

Shaping a World Already Made
University of Regina Press / 24 August 2016

Shaping a World Already Made: Landscape and Poetry of the Canadian Prairies By Carl J. Tracie Published by University of Regina Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $27.95 ISBN 9-780889-773936 The respectful and sweeping premise for Shaping A World Already Made – the brainchild of author/cultural geographer Carl J. Tracie – is to “make meaningful observations about the interconnected themes of poetry, landscape, perception, paradox, and mystery on the [Canadian] prairies.” In his examination of the poetry of place, Tracie seeks to view the prairie landscape “through the lens of poetry,” and asks how the physical elements impact on poets and their work, and how their representation of the landscape influences readers’ (“residents and outsiders”) vision of this land. A self-professed fan of poetry, rather than a poet himself, Tracie analyzed the work of nine “prairie” poets (they might not currently live on the prairies, but their work demonstrates “a long attachment” to it), including Di Brandt, Lorna Crozier, John Newlove, Tim Lilburn, and Eli Mandel, and found commonalities and differences in their subjects, sentiments, and styles. He also refers to the work of a number of Indigenous poets, including Louise Halfe and Marilyn Dumont. Why would a cultural geographer…

Children of the Broken Treaty

Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada’s Lost Promise and One Girl’s Dream by Charlie Angus Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $27.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-401-8 Unbelievable. Appalling. Horrific. These are adjectives that could be used to describe the contents of Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada’s Lost Promise and One Girl’s Dream. This book will make readers feel uncomfortable. It’s designed to have that effect. Discomfort is the first step to justice, and justice is the first step to recovery and reconciliation. Member of Parliament Charlie Angus pleads throughout his book that Canada’s treatment of Aboriginals is a national shame. Those most severely affected are the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, part of Treaty 9 territory. Many homes are without running water, plumbing, or electricity. Even when water is available, it often has to be boiled. When the sewage station fails, sewers overflow. Educational opportunities are lacking. Suicides are at epidemic proportions. Angus provides an historical overview of the signing of Treaty 9 in 1910. Among its provisions is a promise to provide Aboriginals with proper education. The Attawapiskat school is infected with black mould and the ground under it swollen with toxins. When it’s torn…

Reinvesting in Families

Reinvesting in Families by Dorothy Badry, Don Fuchs, H. Monty Montgomery, and Sharon McKay, eds. Published by University of Regina Press Review by Leslie Vermeer $39.95 ISBN 978-0-888977-352-3 Healthy families make healthy communities. The inverse is also true: when families struggle, the community suffers. Reinvesting in Families: Strengthening Child Welfare Practice for a Brighter Future, a collection of research edited by Dorothy Badry and colleagues, argues that on the prairies we need new, evidence-based social work practices to help families and communities be strong and healthy. The book takes a big step toward identifying practices that work and asking questions about future improvements. Reinvesting in Families is part of a series developed by the Prairie Child Welfare Consortium (PCWC). The University of Regina was a founding member of PCWC, whose goal is “to share information, conduct research, and consult, collaborate, and partner … to enhance and strengthen child welfare service delivery, education, and training.” Several of the contributors to this book point out that Aboriginal children and families are particularly affected by social services and social policies. They call for new, “innovative programs based on Indigenous knowledge and methods.” Changing the way social work is done — not only by…

Rogues and Rebels

Rogues and Rebels: Unforgettable Characters from Canada’s West by Brian Brennan Published by University of Regina Press Review by Kris Brandhagen $24.95 9780889773981 Rogues and Rebels: Unforgettable Characters from Canada’s West by Brian Brennan provides a survey of some famous, notorious, and little known people who contributed to Canadian history. In Brennan’s profile of Margaret “Ma” Murray (1888-1982), the reader can tell that he is pleased with his subject. As a young lady, Margaret did the books for a saddle company in Kansas City, where she “amused herself by including personal notes with the saddles being shipped to Alberta.” When “some of the cowboys replied and sent photographs of themselves,” she moved to Canada “in hopes of meeting and marrying a handsome cowboy of mythic proportions.” She took a bookkeeping job with a Vancouver newspaper where she met her future husband, the owner of the newspaper. Together they started the Bridge River-Lillooet News, where she “churned out the provocative opinion columns that would become her trademark. Written in what she liked to call ‘flapdoodle vernacular,’ they were sprinkled with such salty expressions as ‘damfool critters’ and ‘that’s fer damshur.’” Brennan’s biography of Ma Murray is insightful and witty, reflecting her…

The Surprising Lives of Small Town Doctors

The Surprising Lives of Small-Town Doctors edited by Dr. Paul Dhillon Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $21.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-431-5 “All doctors, no matter how great or experienced, are a work in progress. They call it practising medicine for a reason.” So declares Dr. Aleem Jamal, one of forty doctors who relate their experiences in The Surprising Lives of Small-Town Doctors, edited by Dr. Paul Dhillon. This 222-page book contains forty stories from all ten Canadian provinces and three territories. One story is in French with English translation, and five are by Saskatchewan physicians. The stories are split almost equally between male and female doctors. As editor, Dr. Dhillon introduces each doctor with a short paragraph. Before relocating to rural or remote areas in Canada, many of these professionals gained experience internationally, such as through Doctors Without Borders. The Surprising Lives of Small-Town Doctors has intriguing chapter titles such as “Do Not Feed the Polar Bears,” “Goldibear and the Four Anglers,” and “Horse Kicks, Talking Heads, and Bear Chases – Oh My!” Speaking of bears, when a patient with dementia claims to have seen one outside his hospital window, his doctor thinks he’s hallucinating, until a…

Measures of Astonishment

Measures of Astonishment: Poets on Poetry with contributions by Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, George Elliot Clarke, and others ISBN 9780889773714 $27.95 Published by U of R Press Review by Tanya Foster For the creative writer or the poetry reader or the literary specialist, a collection of essays by poets on poetry is an enticement. Many such collections have been written—some consider the poetic process; others uphold various theoretical positions; and others are structured around literary or historical periods. This collection, entitled Measures of Astonishment: Poets on Poetry, is, above all a tribute to poetry. The writers showcase the transfigurative power of poetry—the life-giving, community-building, reality-defining, other-centering possibilities of poetry. As a creative reader, reading this collection will help to unlock a poetic impulse. One of the dominant ideas from the collection is that poetry’s capacity for making connections has transformative power. How often do we try to grab onto a hazy idea that eludes our intellect or try to express what an experience meant but can’t find the language? Metaphor, argue many of the authors, is what poets most rely on to bring connections between what is known and what is unknown. Metaphor offers us access into ideas and experiences…

Journeys in Community-Based Research (Softcover)

Journeys in Community-Based Research by Bonnie Jeffery, Isobel M. Findlay, Diane Martz, and Louise Clarke, eds. Published by University of Regina Press Review by Leslie Vermeer $34.95 978-0-88977-339-4 To many people, pure academic research seems obscure, even irrelevant. Some organizations pointedly ridicule curiosity-based research, implying that only applied research – research undertaken to be put to use – is valuable. And then there is community-based research, a third form directed at positive action, social change, and advocacy, and also the subject of a recent book published by University of Regina Press. It might just change your mind about the significance of academic research. Journeys in Community-Based Research examines ten years of community-based research in Saskatchewan. This research has been underwritten by two bodies – the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) and the Community–University Institute for Social Research (CUISR) – that work with various partners to address community issues and create positive change. Readers may be familiar with some of the projects and their outcomes. Community-based research (CBR) connects academic rigour with real community needs, producing valuable relationships among universities, policy-makers, non-governmental organizations, and social agencies. The goal is always to discover and deliver benefits for communities at…