Shelley Banks

Poet, editor, journalist, creative writer and photographer; poetry collection, Exile on a Grid Road (Thistledown Press).

book
Poetry collection
bird
Birds and nature
flower
Wildflowers

Selling books at the local grocery store

Poster for author appearance
Poster for author appearance, courtesy of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild.

Selling books — or trying to — can be both fun and frustrating, as recently came home to me (again) when I joined a pilot book table project at a Regina grocery store.

On the positive side, it was mildly entertaining watching the shoppers pass by, and counting the ways they tried to avoid eye contact with this unexpected specimen between the nuts and flowers, a local poet.

(Simple aversion of glance; sudden rapid movement towards sale items; furtive checking of shopping lists; intense conversations with partners, staff or random shoppers…)

Continue reading Selling books at the local grocery store

Words in the Park in the Theatre

Shelley Banks, reading at Regina's Words in the Park
Shelley Banks, reading at Regina’s Words in the Park.

Last week, I read at the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild’s Words in the Park series — except that a thunderstorm moved in, and so we read in the Regina Public Library theatre, instead.

It was fun to meet and share the stage with local writers Bob Friedrich and Cat Abenstein. 

This reading series is held once a week at lunchtime, throughout the summer in Regina, usually in Victoria Park. It’s a good chance to get out and get fresh air — and a hit of local literature, too.

Cat-WP
Cat Abenstein
Bob-WP
Bob Friedrich

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Canadian culture, identity and literature

Good luck with this project, Sutina!
Good luck with this project, Sutina!

This week, I met in Regina with Sutina Chou, who is going Coast to Coast, interviewing writers about their work and their thoughts on national literature and identity.

Sutina is a student at McMaster University — and as I am a Mac grad myself (Hons English and Spanish), it was interesting to hear news about the old campus and school direction.

This project is funded by an award that aims to facilitate interdisciplinary exchange. I’m looking forward to reading Sutina’s findings.

Remembering Poetry and a Pint

The recent Poetry and a Pint event at Bushwakkers Brew Pub was a great idea from Saskatchewan’s current Poet Laureate, Gerald Hill. At least, that’s what I’ve heard from many of the people who dropped by to have a drink and listen to local Regina writers read their new work.

And so, in memory of the event (I’m in the process of updating my writing blog, so yes, I am remembering all of this), my favourite photo. Of me, at least. Even if it isn’t really a photo of me.

Eric Greenway, a prose writer, reading at Poetry and a Pint. (I’m the one with the pint in the background.)

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Prairie Crocuses in bloom

Photo of spring Prairie Crocus flowers
A pair of Prairie Crocuses, along a hillside in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan.

If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know I have passion for Prairie wildflowers and birds. Spring is the time for new sightings of both: the birds are migrating north, and the Prairie Crocuses — one of our first flowers — are blooming again on our hillsides.

(Yes, we have hills in this part of Saskatchewan; they fall down the sides of our glacier-scrubbed valleys, instead of going up from the flat land, they way they do in other parts of the world.)

I often wish I knew more about our flora and fauna; I get frequent requests for identifications, and would love to be more helpful! But my interest stems from a love of photography — and an enjoyment of rambling outdoors.

I have a camera, a bunch of reference books, and many blog posts documenting what I’ve seen, and that’s about all. I’m not a botanist or biologist, but you don’t need to be either to enjoy nature.

I’ll be posting new photographs of flowers, birds and other wildlife on PrairieNature.blogspot.ca and PrairieWildflowers.blogspot.ca.  Drop by, if you’re interested. Winter is gone — it’s time to get and explore!

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New Voices: SWG Mentorship

Apprentice Reading 2016
Join us, for readings by some of the best new Saskatchewan writers!

The New Voices reading, with apprentices in the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild 2016 Mentorship Program, is one of my favourite literary events.

This year, I am honoured to host the Apprentice Readings.

When: April 28, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: The Artesian, 2627 13th Avenue, Regina.
Who: Jason Heit, Ashleigh Mattern, Katerina Nakutnyy, and Dora Mushka.

Heit, Mattern, Nakutnyy and Mushka have all been working for four months with professional mentors. I’m really looking forward to hearing them!

This event is always fun because it’s a chance to hear very new work and gain fresh insights into the direction that writing in Saskatchewan may take in the near future. It’s also a chance to meet new and established writers, so if you live in Regina and have been wondering what this writing world is all about, please drop by and say hi!

I was in the SWG Mentorship Program several years ago, and worked on short fiction with Dave Margoshes, a Saskatchewan writer whose path first crossed mine way back when we were both staff reporters with The Sun in Vancouver, B.C. (I would have been very surprised then if someone had looked in a crystal ball and told me that I’d move from the realm of ‘just-the-facts’ to ‘whatever makes a good story’… And yes, I do have a collection of short stories that I plan to expand and send out to greet the world in print…. One day…)

The New Voices reading is FREE, and all are welcome. For more information, click the poster at right, or visit skwriter.com

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Marketing for Writers

The Launch banner for Exile on a Grid Road, and Thistledown Press's other New Leaf books.
The Launch banner we designed and made for Exile on a Grid Road, and Thistledown Press’s other New Leaf books.

Regina, SK, writers — there are still a few spots left in the Marketing for Writers Workshop I’m leading this week.

It’s hosted by the Regina Public Library as part of the RPL’s Writes of Spring!

That’s this Wednesday — April 6, 2016 — from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Regent Place branch on north Albert Street.

I’ve talked to more than a dozen writers from emerging to established (and several publishers, too) to gather tips on marketing — and those will all be shared.

Here’s what the blurb in the Library events guide says:

“Get started promoting your writing — and yourself as a writer. This two-hour workshop, led by a writer with an MFA in Creative Writing and a background in communications, marketing and freelance writing, will help you to identify your strengths, create strong pitches for your work, and write your own personal marketing plan. We’ll also discuss tips and tools for effective promotion. Registration required. Teens welcome.”

Register on line, at: http://www.reginalibrary.ca/events/booking.php?id=4142

Please share, or come and join the fun!

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Poetry and a Pint!

Saskatchewan Poet Laureate’s Poetry & Pints

Bushwakker: Poetry and a Pint on May 21, 2016.
Bushwakker -great poetry will be on offer with great beer at Poetry and a Pint, May 21, 2016.

Join the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate, Gerald Hill, as he MCs an afternoon of poetry and pints as part of Bushwakker’s 25th Anniversary celebrations.

Hosted by Gerald Hill, this event also features readings by Shelley Banks, Courtney Bates-Hardy, Eric Greenway, Brenda Niskala and Coby Stephenson, who will take to the stage to share their electrifying work.

Admission is free, though you’ll have to buy your own beer. Join us for a pint and poetry!

When: Saturday May 21, 3:00 pm
Where: Bushwakker Brew Pub, 2206 Dewdney Ave, Regina.

Reading at the Humboldt Gallery

When I was at the writing retreat in mid-February, I had the opportunity to read at the Humboldt District Gallery with other retreating writers.

The event marked the opening of an art exhibition by students of St. Peter’s College instructors, artists Clint Hunker and Grant McConnell, and included a reading by St. Peter’s College writing instructor, Barbara Langhorst.

And what a great idea, to blend visual and literary, images and words. (And song, too, from Tara.)

My thanks to the organizers, and to all who attended. (And to Caelan for taking a close-up shot of me before the readings began… We took many to test the lighting, and still faced challenges. Flash-free galleries can be fun…)

Reading at the Humboldt District Gallery: Barbara Langhorst, Shelley Banks and Bruce Rice; introductions by St. Peter's College art instructors (l&r) Grant McConnell and Clint Hunker; welcome by gallery representative (c).
Reading at the Humboldt District Gallery: Barbara Langhorst, Shelley Banks and Bruce Rice; introductions by St. Peter’s College art instructors (l&r) Grant McConnell and Clint Hunker; welcome by gallery representative (c).
Humboldt-comp2
Writers David Carpenter and Tara Dawn Solheim (top), with Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild representative Caelan Reilly (bottom).

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