St. Jerome’s reading series


Ever since I have been at uWaterloo (since 1995) St. Jerome’s, “across the creek,” as we say, has brought to the university an amazing array of writers from all backgrounds who work in all genres. I will never forget hearing Steven Heighton read his poems: he hardly needed to look at the page! It was mesmerizing. Nino Ricci, Catherine Bush, George Elliott Clarke, Janice Kulyk Keefer, Chritian Bok, Gregory Scofied, and dozens of others have graced us with their presence and their words over the years. The Q & A after the readings are often also very lively. Good literary culture going on over there.

Somehow the good folks at St. Jerome’s keep getting their Canada Council grant renewed, so that this fabulous series continues. Over the years, I’ve gotten busier, or the day wasn’t right, or I was just too tired at the end of the teaching day to attend. Or there was something else on. I hereby renew my commitment to the St. Jerome’s reading series!

Check this out! [

Adwoa Badoe will be reading next. She was born in Ghana and has lived in Guelph, Ontario, Canada since 1992. She has published on three continents, North America, Europe and Africa. She is the author of sixteen books, the co-author of two others and has also contributed a memoir in the Canadian Anthology, My Wedding Dress. Her books include a collection of folktales, picture-books, as well as readers for educational markets. In her brand new novel, Between Sisters, she tells the story of a sixteen year old girl of Accra, Ghana. Gloria has been blindsided by the sudden demands of adulthood, but like any teenager, she is trying to find a way to reconcile her future, her family, her identity and her own interests. Between Sisters is published by Groundwood Books, House of Anansi. Her other books by Groundwood are The Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories and Nana’s Cold Days. Adwoa Badoe is also a speaker and an award winning performance artist of storytelling and dance.

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8 responses to “St. Jerome’s reading series

  1. Adwoa taught me some Ghanian folk-dance moves at the book launch for Pot of Wisdom about 10 years ago. I wish I had kept up the dance lessons!

  2. I wish the Reading Series would bring in Sandra Birdsell. Loved The Russlander and Waiting for Joe as well as the Aggaiz (sp?) short stories in Nighttouch (was that the title?).

  3. Actually, it was Agassiz Stories. Even my very particular brother loved these stories. I also have a signed first edition of The Russlander on my shelves. If you have autographed Canadian first editions, you may want to hold on to them, even if only for monetary reasons. An autographed first edition of Alice Munro’s first collection (Dance of the Happy Shades) can fetch $500 US.

  4. A Reading at St. Jerome’s

    The day is late, and cool, too cool for fall.
    The afternoon wind speaks with winter’s voice,
    But we are comfortable in Siegfried Hall
    With warming chat and speakers more our choice.
    No bluster here; a calming breath descends
    Our mood with foehn-like poise and floats
    Attention down the stage when she ascends
    And starts to read her work with subtle throat;
    Our reader gives each word a double place
    And gusts the meaning front and yet sideways–
    A breeze that seeks our cracks and clears our space,
    But drifts her duple air to stretch this day
    By swelling memory with thoughts that heat,
    Expand, and broaden the measure of our beat.

  5. Sorry, some typos in my previous poem-posting. I shouldn’t post so late at night!

    Here is a corrected, though flawed (in places), version:

    A reading at St. Jerome’s

    The day is late, and cool, too cool for fall.
    The afternoon wind speaks in winter’s voice,
    But we are comfortable in Siegfried Hall
    With warming chat and speakers more our choice.
    No bluster here; a calming breath descends
    Our mood with foehn-like poise and floats
    Attention down the stage when she ascends
    And starts to read her work with subtle throat;
    Our reader gives each word a double place
    And gusts the meaning front and yet sideways–
    A breeze that seeks our cracks and cleans our space,
    And drifts her duple air to stretch this day
    By swelling memory with thoughts that heat,
    Expand, and broaden the measure of our beat.

  6. Hi Gord, I’m just seeing this now. I like your poem, and I’ll put Sandra Birdsell on our wish list for next year. Thanks for the idea! Sue Goyette is our next reader (Dec. 1st at 4:30 p.m. — STJ 3014). Hope to see you there. If you don’t know her work, she’s a poet from Halifax; my favourite collection is _The True Names of Birds_, though her other collections (_Undone_ and _outskirts_) are wonderful too.

  7. Thank you for your kind comments. I’m still intrigued by the St Jerome’s Reading series and have more writng about it. I’ve read only a few of Goyette’s poems and an interview she did with Anne Compton in her “Meetings with Maritime Poets” in which Sue states “I see metaphor as a net catching something wild.” And she certainly has caught some great, wild wonders.

  8. Thank you, Prof. Austen, for the recommended Goyette titles. I’ll order them in. Looking forward to her reading!

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