25th Trillium Award

Five Things Literary, with Jeanette Lynes

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Jeanette Lynes (photo credit: Deb Stagg)

Now a resident of Saskatoon, poet and novelist Jeanette Lynes returns to Ontario every summer to work on her writing. Her latest book, the provocative and hilarious poetry collection Archive of the Undressed (inspired by vintage Playboy magazines), has just been released with Wolsak & Wynn. In today's edition of Five Things Literary, she tells us about the festivals, reading series and gravesites that refresh her writer's soul.

Jeanette is touring Ontario with Archive of the Undressed this week. She reads in Toronto on February 14, in Kingston on February 15, in Hamilton on February 19 and in Cobourg on February 21. Visit our Events pages for details.


Five Things Literary, with Jeanette Lynes

  1. Celebrity Graves. Susanna Moodie, author of the now-iconic Canadian text Roughing It In the Bush, is buried in Belleville, Ontario. I visited her grave three days before Christmas. I also make annual pilgrimages to Al Purdy’s grave near Ameliasburg, Ontario. Both gravesites overlook water and instill a sense of deep peace.

  3. Poetry at the Artel. This is a wonderful monthly open-mic reading series run by the poet Bruce Kauffman in Kingston, Ontario. Whenever I can attend I’m always struck by the range of work, and voices. It’s a safe, supportive space where writers can try out new work. The Thrive Reading Series run by Erin Foley and located at the Grad Club/pub at Queen’s University is another awesome venue for writers.

  5. Book browsing and thrifting in Picton, Ontario. At a time when locally owned, independent bookstores seem to be closing their doors almost monthly, Books & Company in Picton, Ontario is a rare treat, like walking into a grand, commodious old-world setting. There’s a lovely reading space upstairs and a cat wanders through the aisles. Very close by, also on Main Street, is a rockin’ vintage and consignment clothing store. And Novel Idea on Princess Street in Kingston is also an enjoyable stop for those who still enjoy being in bookstores. Back in Saskatoon, I am seriously addicted to McNally-Robinson Bookstore.

  7. Kingston Writers’ Festival. Every fall, the Kingston Writers' Festival is an absolute bonanza of literary art, a feast of words overseen by Artistic Director Merilyn Simonds. One of the most fun places to read, complete with artisanal cheese, wranglers and a hospitality suite. This festival just keeps getting better and better. Back home in Saskatoon, on the same weekend, is the fabulous Word on the Street. Either home, either province, I can’t lose. I’m blessed to inhabit two of the richest provinces culturally, though that is a risky statement given the wealth of literary art from across this land of ours. Rural prairie, Ontario farmland, I love them both. Urban prairie, the streets of old Ontario, I’m called by both.

  9. Provincial Pastoral, Provincial Gothic. Summers when I head back to Ontario to write and re-immerse in the landscapes of my youth, I make a pilgrimage to Alice Munro country, the area around Wingham, not far from where I grew up. I also visit my parents’ graves in the small village cemetery on the hill, the green valleys dipping and rolling around them, the birdsong, the cows’ slow, ruminative cuds.

Jeanette Lynes is the author of one novel and five collections of poetry. Her novel, The Factory Voice (Coteau, 2009), was longlisted for The Scotiabank Giller Prize and a ReLit Award. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and has won The Bliss Carman Award.

She has been Writer in Residence at Saskatoon Public Library, University of Manitoba and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, among other places. Archive of the Undressed (Wolsak & Wynn) is Jeanette's sixth collection of poetry. She has taught writing at the Banff Centre and The Sage Hill Writing Experience. She is Coordinator of the MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan's Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity and a member of the Department of English.

For more information about Archive of the Undressed, please visit the Wolsak & Wynn website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore, online at Wolsak & Wynn website or at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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