Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Poets in Profile: Rosemary Griebel

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Rosemary Griebel

Find out what inspires, confounds and delights today's Canadian poets by following our series.

Rosemary Griebel is the author of Yes (Frontenac House). Yes is the Calgary-based poet's first collection and was called "a delight to read" by Patrick Lane.

Rosemary Griebel talks to Open Book about Yes and the poet's life.

Don't forget: Rosemary Griebel, Jim Nason, Ron Charach and Kirk Ramdath will all appear at the Frontenac House Fall launch on September 22, 2011. Click here for Open Book’s event listing for the launch.

Open Book:

Can you describe an experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a poet?

Rosemary Griebel:

In my early teens, Canadian publishing was starting to flourish and one of the most influential texts that I borrowed from my brother (and never returned) was an anthology edited by Al Purdy called Storm Warnings. I grew up in a large family where there were often recitations of poets such as Robert Service or Walter de la Mare. Storm Warnings introduced me to a brave new world of poetry with young writers such as bill bissett, Tom Wayman, Mona Fertig and Alden Nowlan. These poets celebrated the everyday in a common language and set me on a lifelong path of poetry discovery and appreciation.

OB:

What is the first poem you remember being affected by?

RG:

The King James Version of the Bible. As a child, I remember the hard seat of the wooden, church pew as I sat holding certain lines in my mouth: “Whence commest thou?”; “Blessed is the fruit of thy womb” ... there was something about the cadences and the resonant strength of the language that was both strange and wonderfully appealing to the ear.

OB:

What one poem — from any time period — do you wish you had been the one to write?

RG:

Leaves of Grass mdash; any of the versions

OB:

What has been your most unlikely source of inspiration?

RG:

The homeless.

OB:

What do you do with a poem that just isn't working?

RG:

There is a point at which I abandon the poem, knowing that if there was an image, a line, a topic that was essential, it will return in another form though it may be years later.

OB:

What was the last book of poetry that really knocked your socks off?

RG:

The Apple Trees at Olema: New & Selected Poems by Robert Hass

OB:

What is the best thing about being a poet…and what is the worst?

RG:

The best: Working in a craft that exists outside of the economy
The worst: Working in a craft that exists outside of the economy….

Born in the farming community of Castor, Alberta, Rosemary Griebel grew up on the prairies. There she experienced nature as both immense and intimate. It’s common to say that there is little room to romanticize nature when the lives and deaths of animals are commonplace and all around you. Yet Rosemary, currently Special Projects Manager with the Calgary Public Library, where she has worked for 20 years, always knew experience as both something to be felt and something to be spoken of. Rosemary’s poems have been published on CBC’s radio program Anthology, in national journals, in the Calgary Transit’s “Poetry in Motion” series of in-vehicle posters, and in chapbooks by Leaf Press. In the past two years, her poems have won FreeFall magazine’s national poetry contest three times — in the second year of the contest, two of her poems, unknown to the judges to be by the same author, tied for first place.

For more information about Yes please visit the Frontenac House website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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