Thursday 13 October 2011

The Ground Beneath Our Feet: Prairie Writers

“Ride off any horizon / and let the measure fall / where it may - / among the piles of bones that dot the prairie / in vision and history / (the buffalo and deer, / dead Indians, dead settlers / the frames of lost houses / left behind in the dust of the depression” (John Newlove, Ride Off Any Horizon)

Canadian writers have, for decades, written about our connection with the land. Here is a handful of books by Saskatchewan authors that remind us of our reliance and interrelationship with the land beneath our feet. Many of these authors have written more than one book; check your local library or bookstore for additional titles.

W.O. Mitchell, Who Has Seen the Wind (Prairie boy’s initiation into the mysteries of life)
Farley Mowat, Owls in the Family (a young boy’s pet menagerie grows out of control with the addition of two cantankerous pet owls)
Sinclair Ross, As For Me and My House (classic novel of small town life during the Depression)
Barbara Sapergia, Dry (speculative fiction about farming on the Prairies)
Wallace Stegner, Wolf Willow (Stegner’s childhood memories)

Laurel Archer, Northern Saskatchewan Canoe Trips (a guide to 15 wilderness rivers)
Sharon Butala, The Perfection of the Morning (memoir of leaving a promising academic career to marry a cattle rancher in southwest Saskatchewan)
Allan Casey, Lakeland (the rich culture and unsung splendour of Canada’s lake country)
Trevor Herriot, River in a Dry Land (an evocative look at the inhabitants and the land of the Qu’Appelle Valley)
Robin & Arlene Karpan, Saskatchewan’s Best Hikes and Nature Walks
Courtney Milne, Saskatchewan: The Luminous Landscape (photographs accompanied by personal notes and stories)
Candace Savage, Prairie: A Natural History (comprehensive, non-technical guide to the biology and ecology of the prairies)
Maggie Siggins, Revenge of the Land (a century of greed, tragedy and murder on a Saskatchewan farm)

What other books or authors would you include on this list?

“in april, then, you come to me in lilac / fall on my cheek like warm rain / take my hair like gentle wind / call me to lie down in fragrance.” (Dave Margoshes, Season of Lilac)