Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 30 November 2016

Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History by Edward Willett Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Keith Foster $39.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-76-8 Government House, Regina, Saskatchewan: An Illustrated History by Regina author Edward Willett is a masterful work of art in both narrative and illustration, solid in structure, and powerful in its rendition. It’s actually a revised and enlarged version of Margaret Hryniuk’s A Tower of Attraction, edited by Garth Pugh and published in 1991 for the 100th anniversary of Government House. That book is long out of print, and a lot has happened in the last twenty-five years – time for a new version for the 125th anniversary in 2016. The Government House Historical Society, with its foresight to preserve its past for the future, undertook both book projects. Willett revises A Tower of Attraction, which covers the period up to and including the term of Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Fedoruk, using it as his launch pad and taking off from there. This book is as up to date as it can be – going through to August 2016. In addition to interviewing the staff at Government House and the widow of former lieutenant Governor John E.N “Jack” Wiebe,…

Deadmonton
University of Regina Press / 23 November 2016

Deadmonton: Crime Stories from Canada’s Murder City by Pamela Roth Published by University of Regina Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $21.95 ISBN 9-780889-774261 In 2011 I lived in a notorious Edmonton neighbourhood where I wouldn’t walk the length of a block alone at night. That same year Edmonton was deemed the “Murder Capital of Canada”. Journalist Pamela Roth was also living in the city at that time, and the court and crime reporter has now published a collection of true stories about several of the cops, the criminals, the victims and their families who made headlines in “Deadmonton,” both in 2011 and across the decades. The book’s title, shadowy cover image, and back cover copy all prepare readers for the disturbing content inside. “These stories are not for the faint of heart,” Roth writes in her introduction, and adds that what the murdered and/or missing victims’ families have in common is “the need for closure, no matter how much time has passed.” There’s been no closure for eleven-year-old victim Karen Ewanciw’s friend, Shelley Campbell, who was ten when she and her best friend were exploring the river valley by Edmonton’s McNally High School, and, after finding an upside down…

Reflections of Ukraine: Ukrainian Churches of the Saskatchewan Countryside
Lloyd and Rose Virag / 9 November 2016

Reflections of Ukraine: Ukrainian Churches of the Saskatchewan Countryside by Lloyd & Rose Virag Published by Lloyd & Rose Virag Review by Keith Foster $39.95 ISBN 978-0-9950034-0-8 Have you ever wondered about all those little churches that dot the Saskatchewan landscape? Lloyd and Rose Virag have pondered them too, and set out on a motor trek of discovery. Focusing specifically on Ukrainian churches because of Rose’s ethnic background, their results are recorded in Reflections of Ukraine: Ukrainian Churches of the Saskatchewan Countryside, an attractive coffee table book they self-published. Lavishly illustrated with more than 700 colour photos taken at 160 different sites in Saskatchewan, the book showcases 142 country churches. The first seven chapters include Ukrainian Orthodox, Ukrainian Greek Orthodox, Ukrainian Catholic, and Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches. The next two chapters feature three Russian Orthodox churches and a surprising variety of other denominations with Ukrainian connections. Chapter ten shows a selection of cemeteries where the churches no longer exist. In captions and photos, the Virags have assembled a wide collection of churches, cemeteries, and small chapels, known as kaplychkos. And these are just the ones that still exist. Some of the churches have been replaced more than once as the…

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…

Line Dance
Burton House Books / 4 November 2016

Line Dance An anthology of poetry, selected and edited by Gerald Hill published by Burton House Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $20.00 ISBN 9-780994-866912 Before I say anything else about Line Dance – the cool new poetry anthology driven by SK Poet Laureate Gerald Hill’s “First Lines” project – a disclaimer: two lines from one of my poems appear within it. Apart from that, I had zilch to do with this book that handily demonstrates the wealth of poetic voices in the homeland, the range of human imagination, and how art inspires art. Each weekday during Poetry Month in April, Hill e-mailed SK Writers’ Guild members a pair of first lines he’d selected from SK poetry books and invited folks to respond with poems of their own. Some, like professionals Brenda Schmidt and Ed Willett, sent poems every day. In the end, almost 500 pieces were submitted, and SK writing veteran-turned publisher, Byrna Barclay, bound what editor Hill deemed the best into a handsome package, featuring Saskatchewanian David Thauberger’s art on the cover. If you already read homegrown poetry, you’ll recognize several names here. The quoted include Dave Margoshes, Judith Krause, Paul Wilson, Gary Hyland, Elizabeth Philips, Bruce Rice,…

Life & Times of Lighthouse McNeil, The
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 3 November 2016

The Life & Times of Lighthouse McNeil: An Adventure in the RCMP by George Garrett Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Keith Foster $19.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-65-2 The legendary traditions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are based on individual members who excelled. In The Life & Times of Lighthouse McNeil: An Adventure in the RCMP, George Garrett chronicles the exploits of one such legendary member – Alexander Stirling McNeil. Born in Winnipeg in 1908, McNeil joined the RCMP in 1931, taking his training at “Depot” Division in Regina. By the time he retired in 1966, he had served in more than thirty detachments across Canada and became a legend in his time. He earned his nickname “Lighthouse McNeil” in 1931 while playing with the Regina Roughriders, forerunner of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Standing at six feet, four inches, he made an easily visible receiver. Returning to the huddle after one particular play in which the quarterback hadn’t thrown to him, he protested, “Why didn’t you throw the ball to me? I’m like a ruddy lighthouse out there!” McNeil was involved in several significant events in Saskatchewan’s history, such as quelling a coal miners’ strike in Estevan in 1933, and…

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