A New Poet Laureate in SK

Finally some poetry news.  Congratulations to Bob Currie, the new Poet Laureate for Saskatchewan!

28 September 2006

For Immediate Release

New Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Announced


Robert Currie of Moose Jaw is the new Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan.  Currie’s term will begin 01 January 2007 and will run until 31 December 2008 .


Currie has written four poetry chapbooks and five books of poetry.  His most recent work is the just-published book of poems Running In Darkness.  He has also written three works of prose (including the novel Teaching Mr. Cutler).  He has won numerous awards for his work, and in 1991 he was named as Poet Laureate of the City of Moose Jaw (jointly with Gary Hyland). He is currently working on a new poetry manuscript and a second novel.


Currie was chosen by a selection committee consisting of Elizabeth Brewster ( Saskatoon ); Michael Trussler ( Regina ); and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond ( Saskatoon ).  The selection committee’s members represent the literary, academic, and broader cultural communities. 


The selection committee is enthusiastic in their recommendation of Currie.  They note not only the beauty and skill of his poetry, but also his work in the literary community:  “Currie has been a steadfast promoter of poetry and the writing of literature in Saskatchewan .  Few writers dedicate their lives to the public promotion of literature as Currie has done; more specifically, throughout his career as a writer and teacher, he has effectively championed writers from Saskatchewan .”


Currie is the third person to hold the title of Poet Laureate; his two predecessors were Glen Sorestad (2000—2004) and Louise B. Halfe (2005—2006).


Begun in 2000, the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Program was the first provincial program of its kind in Canada .  The Poet Laureate Program is funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and is under the patronage of the Lieutenant Governor, His Honour the Honourable Dr. Gordon L. Barnhart.  The Saskatchewan Writers Guild administers the program and the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Saskatchewan Book Awards act in an advisory capacity.




For more information: 


Amy Nelson-Mile: 306-791-7743 or amynelson.mile@sasktel.net


See also http://www.skwriter.com and attached Bio and Backgrounder.


Bio of Robert Currie


Robert Currie, who was born in Lloydminster, lives in Moose Jaw, where for three decades he taught English and creative writing at Central Collegiate, winning the Joseph Duffy Memorial Award for excellence in the teaching of language arts.  He and his wife, Gwen, continue to live in the same house where they raised their children, Bronwen and Ryan, both of whom have moved on, raising children of their own.  Since taking an early retirement in 1996 Currie has been busy writing, editing, and volunteering.


Currie began publishing poetry and fiction in 1967, and since then his work has appeared in numerous literary magazines (Grain, Canadian Forum, Fiddlehead, CVII, NeWest Review, Queen’s Quarterly, Wascana Review, and Prairie Fire included) plus more than 40 anthologies.  He is the author of four poetry chapbooks, five books of poetry and three of prose, including the novel Teaching Mr. Cutler and the just published volume of poems Running in Darkness.


In 1969 he founded, a little magazine of contemporary writing, which he edited and published for seven years.  Although its pages were cranked out on an old gestetner, they contained many good writers before they were famous, Lorna Crozier, Lois Simmie, Glen Sorestad, and Carol Shields among them.  Currie was chairman of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild for 1973-1974, wrote a column for Freelance, taught creative writing four summers at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts at Fort San, and, with Gary Hyland, Barbara Sapergia and Geoffrey Ursell, founded Coteau Books on 1975—and still volunteers on its board.  Beginning in 1997 he spent six years on the Guild’s Colony Committee.  He was also a founding board member of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words, serving on its board through ten festival with more to come.  In 2006 he was thrilled to be on the faculty of the Sage Hill Writing Experience at Lumsden.


In 1980 Currie won third prize for poetry in the CBC National Literary Competition.  he has won first prize on four occasions in the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Literary Awards (thrice for poetry, once for children’s literature).  One of his radio plays won the 1977 Ohio State Award for Radio Drama.  In 1984 he was honoured by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild with a Founder’s Award, and in 2004 he received the Guild’s Volunteer Leadership Award.


His current writing projects include a poetry manuscript and a second novel.


Backgrounder—Poet Laureate Media Release


The Program


Communities, non-profit organizations, service organizations and educational institutions may submit applications to support the participation of the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate at a public reading or special event in Saskatchewan .


Preference will be given for events that meet the following criteria:


·          are linked to a significant community event (e.g. festival, anniversary, historical milestone)

·          involve a public presentation (e.g. lecture, awards presentation, luncheon address)

·          show a willingness to promote both the event and the presence and participation of the Poet Laureate

·          involve partnerships with other organisations (e.g. school, library, service club, arts organisation)


What Costs the Program Covers


The program will cover the cost of the Poet Laureate’s fee, travel, and meal expenses.  The host organization is responsible for covering the cost of accommodation, if required.


How to Apply


To request an application form, please see http://www.skwriter.com or contact the Saskatchewan Writers Guild at 306-791-7743 or by e-mail at amynelson.mile@sasktel.net .  Applications must be received at least five weeks prior to the event, and bookings depend on the availability of the Poet Laureate and available funding.


Objectives of the Poet Laureate Program


1.       To celebrate the spirit of the people and place of Saskatchewan

2.       To raise the profile of writers in Saskatchewan

3.       To elevate writing as a vocation

4.       To raise awareness of the power of poetry and the spoken word

5.       To create a recognized spokesperson for writing in general and poetry in particular who will be a respected participant of festive occasions and official functions in the province

6.       To be a focal point for the expression of Saskatchewan cultures (time, land, people) through the literary arts.




Successful recipients will acknowledge the Poet Laureate sponsors on all printed material.



One thought on “A New Poet Laureate in SK

  1. Pingback: Moose jaw Blog Digest - A New Poet Laureate in SK

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