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THE PARLIAMENTARY POET LAUREATE

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John Steffler
2006-2008

Biography

“As an award-winning poet and fiction writer, Mr. Steffler has been a highly-regarded ambassador of Canadian writing for many years,” said Speaker Kinsella.

“His career-long interest in the interaction between people and the places they inhabit will lead to some insightful poetic reflections on the Canadian experience.” “Mr. Steffler has spent a good part of his career teaching others about his craft,” said Speaker Milliken. “I welcome his appointment to a position that seeks to enhance Canadians’ appreciation of the value of poetry in our society.”

John Steffler was born in Toronto, Ontario in November 1947 and was educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph. He moved to and adopted Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador as his home in 1974. He taught at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (a campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland). His five books of poetry are highly regarded and have been well received in throughout Canada. They include That Night We Were Ravenous (1998) which won the 1999 Atlantic Poetry Prize. His novel The Afterlife of George Cartwright (1992) won the 1993 Smithbooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Thomas Head Raddall Award and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book.

News

  • 2 February 2008
    Vancouver Sun – Vancouver, B.C.; John Steffler was interviewed by Rebecca Wigod.

  • 26 January 2008
    Vancouver Sun - Vancouver, B.C.; John Steffler was interviewed by Rebecca Wigod.

  • 5 October 2007
    CBCV FM – 4:51p.m. – Victoria, B.C.; Reporters: Joanne Roberts/Mary Griffin; Show: All Points West – Discussion with Wendy Morton, the founder of Random Acts of Poetry and John Steffler, Parliamentary Poet Laureate about Random Acts of Poetry.

  • 25 April 2007
    CBC Toronto, Ont. – As part of the National Poetry Month, Poet Laureate John Steffler discussed the poetry of the future.

  • 18 April 2007
    CBC Toronto, Ont. – As part of the National Poetry Month, Poet Laureate John Steffler discussed the inspiration of nature on poetry.

  • 11 April 2007
    CBC Toronto, Ont. – As part of the National Poetry Month, Poet Laureate John Steffler talked about one of the most accessible forms of poetry and song.

  • 4 April 2007
    CBC Toronto, Ont. – National Poetry Month: Interview with our country's Poets Laureate John Steffler, Pauline Michel and George Bowering.

  • 8 January 2007
    CKMI-TV – 7:53a.m. – Montreal, Que.; Reporters: G. Darabi/A. Peplowski – Show: This Morning Live HR.2 – Interview with Canada’s new Poet Laureate, John Steffler.

  • 6 January 2007
    CBC-R National – 9:49a.m., Reporter: Kathleen Petty – Show: The House – Interview with John Steffler, Canada’s new Poet Laureate.

  • 19 December 2006
    CBU-AM – 3:37p.m., Vancouver, B.C., Reporter: Priya Ramu – Show: On the Coast, Arts Report: Interview with John Steffler, poet and fiction writer.
    CBCV-FM – 4:38p.m., Victoria, B.C., Reporter: Joanne Roberts – Show: All Points West: Interview with John Steffler, award-winning poet, fiction writer and Canada’s new Poet Laureate.
    CBK-AM – 4:42p.m., Sask., Afternoon Edition - Reporter: Colin Grewar – Interview with John Steffler.
    CBL-FM – 4:51p.m., Toronto, Ont., Reporter: Matt Galloway – Show: Here and Now HR.2 - Interview with John Steffler, Canada’s poet laureate, who discussed his position and his poetry.
    CBH-FM – 4:52p.m., Halifax, N.S., Reporter: Carmen Klassen – Show: Mainstreet HR.1, Arts - Canada’s new Poet Laureate is picking up his quill. Interview with John Steffler.
    CFYK-AM – 5:36p.m., Yellowknife, N.W.T., Reporter: Norbert Poitras – Show: Trail’s End - Interview with John Steffler, poet laureate and writer.
    CBCT-FM – 5:24p.m., Charlottetown, N.S., Reporter: Matt Rainnie – Show: Mainstreet HR.2 - Culture: Interview with John Steffler, Canada’s award-winning poet laureate and fiction writer.

  • 12 December 2006
    CBO-FM – 5:43p.m., Ottawa, Ont.; Reporter: Adrian Harewoodd – Show: All in a day (3) - Interview with John Steffler.

  • 11 December 2006
    CBC News Morning (2), CBC-NW - 8:41a.m., Ottawa, Ont., Reporter: Heather Hiscox, National Broadcasting - Interview with John Steffler.

  • 10 December 2006
    CBC-NW – 7:21a.m. - Montreal, Que., Reporter: Marivel Taruc - Morning Weekend Edition - Interview with John Steffler.

  • 8 December 2006
    CBME-FM – 12:53p.m., Montreal, Que.; Reporter: Anne Lagace-Dowson – Radio Noon - Interview with John Steffler.
    CBME-FM – 1:07p.m., Montreal, Que.; Reporter: Anne Lagace-Dowson - Radio Noon - Interview with John Steffler.
    CBNT-TV – 6:22p.m., St-John, N.L.; Reporters: D. Cooper/J. Crowe - Show: Here and Now, Arts: Interview with John Steffler.
  • 7 December 2006
    CBME-FM – 6:50a.m., Montreal, Que.; Reporters: Steve Rukovina/Ann Lang – Show: Daybreak - Interview with John Steffler.
    CBN-AM – 8:46a.m., St-John's, N.L.; Reporter: Jeff Gilhooly - Show: St John’s Morning; Arts - The federal government announced, this week, the name of the new Poet Laureate, John Steffler.
    CINW-AM – 6:16p.m. – Montreal, Que.; Reporter: Jim Duff - Show: The drive with Duff - Interview with John Steffler.

  • 5 December 2006
    CBY-AM – 8:45a.m. – Cornerbrook, N.L.; Reporter: Dorothy King - Show: West Coast Morning (3) – Interview with John Steffler.
    CBC-FM – 8:55a.m. - Reporters: Joe Cummings/Allen; Arts and Literature Report: Interview with new Parliamentary Poet Laureate, John Steffler.
    CJBC-AM – 4:54p.m. -Toronto, ON; Reporter : Sylvie-Anne Jeanson - Show: Au-delà de la 401 – Interview with John Steffler.

  • 4 December 2006
    CBC-FM – 5:56p.m. - Reporter: Joe Cummings; National Broadcasting – Arts Report,Canada has a new Parliamentary Poet Laureate, John Steffler.


  • Events

  • November 2008
    Four poems published in Riddlefence #2, St. John's, N.L.
    Four poems accepted for publication in The Malahat Review's "Green Imagination" issue.

  • 25 November 2008
    Gave a reading and talk for the St. James Literary Society, Montreal.

  • 19 November 2008
    Gave a creative writing workshop for the English Department, University of Calgary.

  • 18 November 2008
    Gave the Paget-Hoy Lecture at the University of Calgary.
  • October 2008
    One poem was published in the October issue (vol. 16, no. 8) of The Literary Review of Canada.

  • 25 September 2008
    Gave a talk and reading to an assembly of students at the community centre, St. Mary's, Ontario.

  • 24 September 2008
    Gave a reading and talk at the public library, Stratford, Ontario.

  • July and August 2008
    Writing: at work on a novel.
    Four poems selected for inclusion in an anthology, Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems, edited by Nancy Holmes, to be published in the fall of 2008 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

  • June 2008
    Continued to invite poets to contribute work to the Poem of the Week program.

  • 12-18 June 2008
    Took part in the Gaelic Arts Festival, Corner Brook, N.L.

  • 15 June 2008
    Gave a reading of poetry at the festival.

  • 12 June 2008
    Gave an introductory talk at the festival.

  • 13 May 2008
    Gave a reading at the Banff Centre.

  • April 2008
    Teaching a graduate course in Creative Writing at Concordia University, supervising graduate theses and serving as a reader for thesis defences.

  • 27 April to 18 May 2008
    Taught creative writing during the Spring Studio at the Banff Centre.

  • 15 April 2008
    Hosted a panel discussion and an evening of poetry reading on Parliament Hill. He invited five prominent poets from across Canada.
    Photo
    Panel discussion (audio): Part 1 Part 2
    Panel discussion: Video
    John Steffler hosted a five-person poetry reading and panel discussion on Parliament Hill.

  • 9 April 2008
    John Steffler gave a reading at John Abbott College in Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue.

  • 8 April 2008
    John Steffler gave a reading and talk to an assembly of students at John Abbott College, Montreal.

  • 1 April 2008
    John Steffler gave a reading and talk at the League of Canadian Poets’ launch of National Poetry Month in Toronto.
    John Steffler gave a reading at Ben McNally Bookstore in Toronto for the League of Canadian Poets' launch of Poetry Month.

  • 28 March 2008
    John Steffler gave out the Irving Layton Award for Poetry and was in the jury for this award given to an undergraduate student at Concordia University in Montreal.

  • 15 March 2008
    John Steffler delivered the 2008 Pratt Lecture at Memorial University in St. John’s, N.L.

  • 14 March 2008
    John Steffler gave a reading of his work for the Department of English, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

  • 13 March 2008
    John Steffler gave a reading of his work at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, N.L.

  • 3 March 2008
    John Steffler attended the launch of The Echoing Years, Paragraphe Bookstore in Montreal.

  • 25 January 2008
    John Steffler gave a round-table talk on poetry for students at Mount Allison University and a reading of his work that evening.

  • 13 December 2007
    John Steffler participated in a Arts Matters forum hosted by Rideau Hall, in Ottawa.

  • 29 November 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at Redeemer University College and at the Hamilton Poetry Centre in Hamilton.

  • 28 November 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at the London Public Library in London, Ont.

  • 27 November 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading and talk at the University of Toronto and a reading at the Art Bar Poetry Series in Toronto.

  • 4 November 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at the Words Aloud 4 Spoken Word and Storytelling Festival in Durham.

  • 1 November 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at Trent University in Peterborough.

  • 16 October 2007
    John Steffler was interviewed by Penn Kemp in London, Ontario.

  • 5 October 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading for the Planet Earth Poetry Series at the Black Stilt Cafe, Victoria, BC.

  • 4 October 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at Reynolds School in Victoria, BC.

  • 3 October 2007
    John Steffler met with Ms. Sharon Shepherd, the mayor of Kelowna, who named 3 October 2007, Poet Laureate's Day in Kelowna. He gave a reading and interviews at Kelowna City Hall, as well as an evening reading at the Kelowna Public Library for the Okanagan Campus of UBC.

  • 2 October 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at Green College, UBC

  • 17 September 2007
    John Steffler gave a talk on his writing for Robert Lecker's Canadian Fiction class at McGill University in Montreal.

  • 7 September 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at the Eden Mills Festival, Eden Mills, Ont.

  • 6 September 2007
    After several weeks spent reading submissions, John Steffler chose the winners and honourable mentions for the Arc annual poetry competition.

  • 5 September 2007
    John Steffler began teaching a year-long graduate workshop in poetry (English 672A) and supervising MA theses in creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal.

  • 16 August 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at the Writers at Woody Point Festival, Woody Point, N.L.

  • 18 July 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading at the Leacock Festival, Orillia, Ontario

  • 26-29 April 2007
    John Steffler participated in the Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal.

  • 24 April 2007
    John Steffler gave a reading in Ottawa as part of the "Tree Reading Series".

  • 4 April 2007
    John Steffler travelled to Guelph, Ont., where he spoke to the graduating students at the University of Guelph as part of their last lecture.

  • 6-12 March 2007
    John Steffler travelled in Newfoundland giving a series of readings in St. John's, Gander and Corner Brook as part of the March Hare Festival.

  • Poems

    * These poems are posted with permission of McClelland & Stewart and Vehicule Press. *

  • "The Green Insect"

  • "Cedar Cove"

  • "Cooks line"

  • "Humber Arm"

  • "Out from the Englee"

  • "That Night We Were Ravenous"
  • Bibliography

    John Steffler