Monday, April 30, 2018

The Twenty-Fifth Saskatchewan Book Awards

...took place on Saturday and it was a great event. Congratulations to everyone! Thank you to the Saskatchewan Book Awards and to everyone who has had a hand in making this important celebration of books happen over the years. 

I had the honour of speaking at this event to an audience of writers I admire and look up to. Among them were many incredible and incredibly hard-working publishers. Book lovers and supporters of the literary arts looked on. I spoke to them about where I was twenty-five years ago and where I was as a writer twenty-two years ago when the first Saskatchewan Book Award for poetry went to Beyond My Keeping by Elizabeth Philips, and how important this book is and how important this writer is to me and the larger writing community. I ended by reading "Lake in Winter," one of my favourite poems in the book.      

On the way home on Sunday, we crossed the George Willis Bridge even though I was afraid. Ice jammed and piled up dangerously, or so I thought, but I have no idea what a bridge can withstand. The Saskatchewan River has never looked colder. 

On the other side, the flooding toppled some cabins

 and submerged others. 

Once safely across the bridge I thought of "Lake in Winter" again, the words still fresh on my tongue.

Today I opened the thank you gift from the Saskatchewan Book Awards board and staff. Anyone who attends the awards knows the board and staff are amazing and pay attention to every single detail, but I was unprepared for what I found. Inside was this unbelievably beautiful feather by Saskatchewan glass artist Jacqueline Berting.  

In it I saw the ice surrounding the buildings, the structures, the power, and the poem came back to me again.