Sorestad, Glen 1937-

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SORESTAD, Glen 1937-

(Glen Allan Sorestad)

PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced Sor-stad; born May 21, 1937, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Education: University of Saskatchewan, B.Ed. (with distinction), 1963, M.Ed., 1976. Hobbies and other interests: "I am a constantly amazed traveler who loves to see new places, to meet new people and find new friends in the unlikeliest places. I always want to know what lies over the next mountain. I am an inveterate book collector and an avid fisherman."

ADDRESSES: Home—108-835 Heritage Green, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7H 5H5. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Yorkton Public Schools, Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada, elementary school teacher, 1957–60, vice principal, 1963–67; Saskatoon Board of Education, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, elementary school teacher, 1967–69, high school teacher of English, 1969–81; writer, 1981–. University of Saskatchewan, extension lecturer, 1984, and occasional sessional lecturer. Thistledown Press, cofounder, 1975, publisher and director, 1975–2000. Literary Press Group, executive member, 1983–84; Prairie Publishers Group, president, 1984–85. Writer in residence for numerous schools, libraries, and writing programs.

MEMBER: League of Canadian Poets (life member; former executive member), Writers Union of Canada, Saskatchewan Writers Guild.

AWARDS, HONORS: Hilroy fellowship from Canadian Teachers Federation, 1976, for innovative teaching project, "Prairie Writers Workshop"; Canada Council grant, 1976; Founder's Award, Saskatchewan Writers Guild, 1990; appointed first poet laureate of Saskatchewan, 2000–04; Saskatoon Book Award, 2001; Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, 2003.

WRITINGS:

POETRY

Wind Songs, graphics by Neil Wagner, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1975.

Prairie Pub Poems, illustrated by Neil Wagner, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1976.

Pear Seeds in My Mouth, Sesame Press (Windsor, Ontario, Canada), 1977.

Ancestral Dances, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1979.

Jan Lake Poems, Harbour Publishing (Madeira Park, British Columbia, Canada), 1984.

Hold the Rain in Your Hands: Poems New and Selected, Coteau Books (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1985.

(With Jim Harris and Peter Christensen) Stalking Place: Poems across Borders, Hawk Press (Hobbs, NM), 1988.

Air Canada Owls, Harbour Publishing (Madeira Park, British Columbia, Canada), 1990.

West into Night, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1991.

(With Jim Harris) Jan Lake Sharing, privately printed, 1993.

Birchbark Meditations, Writers on the Plains (Hobbs, NM), 1996.

Icons of Flesh, Ekstasis Editions (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1998.

Today I Belong to Agnes, Ekstasis Editions (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2000.

Leaving Holds Me Here: Selected Poems, 1975–2000, edited by John Newlove, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 2001.

Dreaming My Grandfather's Dreams, Frog Hollow Press (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2002.

Grasses and Gravestones, Smoky Peace Press (Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada), 2003.

Blood & Bone, Ice & Stone, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, literary magazines and online literary websites. Poetry has also been broadcast on radio programs by Canadian Broadcasting Corp., as well as on Norway's state radio, in Slovenia (in translation), and on various United States radio stations.

EDITOR

(With James A. MacNeill) Strawberries and Other Secrets, T. Nelson and Sons (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 1970.

(With James A. MacNeill) Tigers of the Snow: Eighteen Canadian Stories, T. Nelson and Sons (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 1973.

(With James A. MacNeill) Sunlight and Shadows, T. Nelson and Sons (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 1974.

(With Christine McClymont and Clayton Graves) Contexts: Anthology Three, T. Nelson and Sons (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 1984.

(With Allan Forrie and Paddy O'Rourke) The Last Map Is the Heart, an Anthology: Western Canadian Fiction, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1989.

Fat Moon: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose, Kalamalka Press (Vernon, British Columbia, Canada), 1991.

(With Christine McClymont and others) Something to Declare, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Allan Forrie and Patrick O'Rourke) In the Clear: A Contemporary Canadian Poetry Anthology, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1998.

OTHER

Work is included in more than forty anthologies and textbooks, including A Sudden Radiance, Coteau Books (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1987; What Is Already Known, Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1995; Through the Smoky End Boards, Polestar Press, 1996; Inside Poetry, 2nd edition, Harcourt Canada, 2002; and New Century North American Poets, River King Poetry Press, 2003. Contributor of short stories to many periodicals. Short stories have also been broadcast on radio programs by Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

ADAPTATIONS: One of Sorestad's short stories was adapted as a television script, One Last Look in the Mirror, which was broadcast by Bravo cable network.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Several manuscripts of prose and poetry, including one about the poet's father; a prose/poetry memoir about thirty years of fishing at Jan Lake; a manuscript of short stories and a manuscript of personal essays.

SIDELIGHTS: Glen Sorestad told CA: "I continue to write because I can't imagine what else I would rather do and because, if I didn't write, I would be a miserable creature, intolerable to live with. As Alden Nowlan once said when asked why he wrote: 'What else would I do?'

"I am more and more fascinated by the phenomenon of human memory, what we remember and why, and by the discoveries memory holds for the writer in that amazingly creative process by which memory is unlocked and manifests itself into poems or stories. So often, it seems, the poem or story is for me a voyage of discovery; this is both the challenge and the reward, the pain and the pleasure."

Sorestad later told CA: "As far back as I can remember, poetry has always been a part of my life—from my early love of reading and being read to, to being surrounded with music and song, to a one-room country schoolhouse where I not only willingly memorized numerous poems, but actually committed to memory poems that weren't even assigned, simply because it was an easy and pleasurable activity. Strangely, though, while memorizing some awfully didactic but rhythmically pleasing poems by mostly nineteenth-century and earlier British poets, it never once occurred to me then, when I was twelve or thirteen, that I might actually want to try my hand at writing a poem. After all, poems were written by British or American men, mostly dead. So that made poetry a remote art practiced in the past by people in distant lands. Still, poems made good reading, and there was something about poetry that worked its way into my blood and wouldn't let go of me once it took hold.

"When I was seventeen, in high school, I chanced upon Anne Marriott's 'The Wind Our Enemy' in our literary textbook. I was unprepared for the discovery that, not only could poems be written by contemporary Canadians, and even women wrote poetry, but they could be written about places you knew, places you'd been, not just Kew in lilac time or Tintern Abbey or the sweet Afton. I was completely stunned to think that the vast prairies and ever-present wind could ever be a suitably poetic subject. Of course, I apparently wasn't the only one who thought this because our teacher never once mentioned this particular poem. I didn't rush home and write a sequence of poems about the prairies, though. In fact, it took another fourteen or fifteen years before I began my first fumblings with poems. Once I started though, I was hooked for good.

"It was in Saskatoon that I first began to meet and talk with writers and to read with a tremendous excitement contemporary poets like Andy Suknaski and Pat Lane, Anne Szumigalski and John Hicks, Bob Currie and Gary Hyland. I was hooked for good. In 1973 Andy Suknaski published a few poems of mine in a little chapbook that was the forerunner to my later Prairie Pub Poems. By 1975 I had become involved in founding Thistledown Press (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), and my life was never to be the same. Almost 250 Thistledown books later, I retired from literary publishing to focus solely on my writing."

More recently, Sorestad wrote: "My writing and public readings of my work have taken me to every province in Canada, at least fifteen states, as well as France, Norway, Finland, and Slovenia. Wherever I read my work I have found that the power of the spoken word with listening audiences is undiminished by the omnipresence of all the new technologies of communication. Poetry still captivates us as it always has since the first poetic utterances."

"One of the most surprising things I have learned about writing, or at least about the way I happen to write, is patience. I have learned to accept that I am very much a 'streak' writer who goes through periodic bursts of high writing energy during which I write a great deal. Then I may not write anything new for weeks or even months. So what I have learned to do is to rewrite and revise during the 'dry spells' while awaiting the next explosion of writing energy. It has taught me that, at least for my writing, patience is definitely a virtue."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Hillis, Doris, editor, Voices and Visions, Coteau Books (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada), 1985.