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,…

A Round for Fifty Years
Coteau Books / 6 April 2016

A Round for Fifty Years: A History of Regina’s Globe Theatre by Gerald Hill Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $34.95 ISBN 9-781550-506389 In his Foreword, commissioned writer Gerald Hill claims “no objectivity for [his version of the theatre’s history], no nose for the dirt (if any exists, other than bat or pigeon dung), no investigative-reporter zeal,” and affirms that what follows is his rendering of the story. To that I say: Hurray! Hill’s got a SK-sized mountain of excellent publications (mostly poetry) behind him, and the longtime professor at Regina’s Luther College also has personal ties to the Globe. I can’t name a more suitable writer to pen a close-up retrospective that celebrates the folks – on both sides of the Globe’s curtain – who’ve made Saskatchewan’s first professional theatre company such a long-standing success. This book’s a classy package. The cover’s appropriately dramatic: a front-lit photo of the historic Globe theatre building contrasted against the night sky and skyscrapers. The generously-spaced text assures easy reading; the book’s saturated with photographs (mostly from performances); and it’s smartly organized into three Acts, with a comprehensive Appendices that includes selected show posters. Its presentation is coffee table-ish; you’d…

My Human Comedy
Coteau Books / 6 July 2011

My Human Comedy by Gerald Hill Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $14.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-371-5 Sometimes, when I’m particularly fond of a poetry collection, I send the poet a gift. Not flowers, or cash; not even a Tim Horton’s gift certificate. I send the poet’s words back to him or her, extracting several of my favourite lines and reordering them to make a new poem, a tribute poem. It’s both a thank you and my highest praise. The last time I sent such a piece it was to Regina writer Gerald Hill, shortly after Coteau Books released his eclectic poetry collection, My Human Comedy: The Man From Saskatchewan Book Two. I couldn’t help myself; the book’s an absolute delight, and the excerpts – Hill’s an original – came together with ease: Sunlight In Patches, These Moments After Rain (A Poem For Gerry, By Gerry) Here between the street and his heart – a little place, not too far away – he wants to get rid of himself. Late afternoon, afraid to find more light. All of this easy as gravel to see. It’s hard to make a difference in this heat. He’s full of stillness, gets quieter…