As Calgary’s Poet Laureate (2014-2016) one of my projects was initiating a plan whereby the city would name alleys and streets after deceased Calgarian authors — a means of remembering how writers have helped us understand who we were, who we are, and who we can become.

It was my plan to have this be an ongoing program honouring authors through-out Calgary’s history. While the program was not meant to be, one name was supported by City Hall: Nellie McClung.

Calgary is a city populated with award-winning novelists and poets with international reputations. Writing from Calgary has changed the face of Canadian literature. The citizens of Calgary tend to be unaware of our rich literary past — of the writers who have walked our pathways and lived in our neighbourhoods. With their passing, they fall out of our collective imaginations and back on to our shelves. Their books become silent footnotes to the communities that they helped build, reflect, document and enrich. A city’s literature makes tangible our citizens’ thoughts and concerns, our triumphs and our shame, our small personal reflections and our larger civic discourses. I learn of Calgary and its growth through its literature, through its authors and poets.

McClung is renowned for being a member of the CBC’s first Board of Governors, a delegate to the League of Nations, a renowned public lecturer, women’s rights advocate and a member of the “Famous Five” as advocate for women’s suffrage in the 1928–29 “Persons Case.” McClung’s legacy is not without controversy, as she was also a supporter of Eugenics and forced sterilization. McClung’s legacy is a complicated one, just as any city’s history is fraught with tragedy. As McClung once said, “Why are pencils equipped with erasers if not to correct mistakes?”

In addition to McClung’s well-known efforts – and mixed political legacy – as a social activist, suffragette and politician, she was also on the 1st Board of Governors for the CBC. McClung moved to Calgary in 1923; her home on 15th Avenue SW is a National Historic site (and the current home of the Columbian Consulate) and was recently re-created at Heritage Park.

She is also the little-remembered author of best-selling volumes of fiction and non-fiction that reflected life in Canada’s prairies and the small communities from which so many of our citizens were raised. Her editions included 9 volumes of fiction (Sowing Seeds in Danny (1908); The Second Chance (1910); The Black Creek Stopping House: And Other Stories (1912); Purple Springs. (1922); When Christmas Crossed ‘The Peace’ (1923); Painted Fires (1925, 2014); All We Like Sheep (1926); Be Good to Yourself: A Book of Short Stories (1930) and Flowers for the Living (1931)) and 8 volumes of non-fiction (In Times Like These (1915); The Next of Kin (1917); Three Times and Out: A Canadian Boy’s Experience in Germany (1918); Clearing in the West: My Own Story (1935); Leaves from Lantern Lane (1936); Before They Call … (1937); More Leaves from Lantern Lane (1937); The Stream Runs Fast (1945)). In many ways McClung’s publishing of national best-sellers gave her the social profile to run for public office. McClung died in 1951 in Victoria, B.C.

Nellie McClung Avenue is the only street in Calgary named after an author.

(photo by Shaun Hunter)

mcclung ave



NEW from Ma Bibliotheque! L’Echec de Perec by Derek Beaulieu. (28 pages. Edition of 50, signed & numbered, £5.00)
L’Echec de Perec offers a playful visual translation of Georges Perec’s Alphabets (1976), transforming each oulipian poem into a glyph which resembles chessboards and crossword puzzles. Perec’s compositional structure becomes the framework for a new way of writing, treating language as brickwork.

Order your copy of Sam Andreyev’s new CD Music with no Edges … (I wrote the accompanying essay to this fabulous recording)

Media Release
For immediate release

Calgary’s former Poet Laureate Derek Beaulieu named Director of Literary Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

BANFF, AB, October 9 – Derek Beaulieu, an award winning professor at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Mount Royal University, has been appointed the next Director of Literary Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Beaulieu will take up his post on October 15, 2018 and is thrilled to be taking on this important role. Born in Montréal, Beaulieu moved to Calgary as a young boy and has built his career here.

“I grew up in Alberta, and have worked with the artistic and literary community here and across the country for decades. I believe that Banff Centre is unique in Canada as a place where writers come to explore their craft and be mentored by some of the most illustrious figures in literary arts. I am thrilled to get this opportunity to add to the rich legacy of literary arts at Banff Centre,” said Beaulieu.

As Calgary’s former Poet Laureate (2014–16), Beaulieu enjoyed being a cultural ambassador for the literary and visual arts, something he will continue while at Banff Centre. An award winning instructor, Beaulieu has taught creative writing and contemporary literature. A prolific author, editor, and visual artist, his work has also been exhibited internationally in over 20 solo and group exhibitions.

“We are so pleased Derek is joining our team at Banff Centre. It’s exciting to have an author and artist from Alberta to lead Literary Arts. We know Derek will succeed magnificently in this new role,” said Janice Price, President and CEO of Banff Centre.

“Derek impressed us all with his passion, ideas, and commitment to the regional, national, and international literary world. Derek is widely celebrated for his lifetime achievements, his depth of experience as an educator, and as a published writer. He is also a builder of community and an advocate for the role art can play in shaping our understanding of who we are that made him a perfect fit,” said Howard Jang, Vice President of Arts and Leadership of Banff Centre.

Derek Beaulieu is the author and editor of 20 collections of poetry, prose, and criticism including two volumes of his selected work Please No More Poetry: the poetry of derek beaulieu (2013) and Konzeptuelle Arbeiten (2017). His most recent volume of fiction, a, A Novel was published by Paris’s Jean Boîte Editions.

Beaulieu lives in Calgary with his wife and daughter and will be relocating to Banff this fall.


For more information, please contact:

Jenny Spurr
Manager, Communications
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
Banff, Alberta
T1L 1H5
tel: 403.431.0261

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus -“ artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach. In 2018, Banff Centre celebrates 85 years of creative practice.

Arn McBay animates the 1st 150 pages of my a, A Novel bringing out the noise and fray of the New York streets …


Derek Beaulieu’s a, A Novel erases all the text in Andy Warhol’s 1968 novel, leaving only the punctuation marks, typists’ insertions and onomatopoeic words.

(drowned out by traffic noise): a, A Novel, created in collaboration with Alan Dunn, composes ten audio responses to the book into this single 60-minute soundtrack (MP3 here):

Pascalle Burton – After the After Party, 1979 radio
Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim and Stine Janvin Joh – p343 for Theodor W. Adorno
Peter Jaeger – a A Novel p85
Karri Kokko – Haukotus (Yawn) A
Sylvain Chauveau – a, page 113
Cecilie Bjørgås Jordheim – p343 dick isn’t that big (16mm soundtrack)
Gary Barwin – Typing Warhol Page 1
Prof. Oddfellow – Clockwork Punctuation
Gary Barwin & Arnold McBay – texture: code: sound
Alan Dunn & collaborators – p100/101 featuring Molly Wookey, an elderly lady on whom Dr. Arthur Spencer at Powick Psychiatric Hospital trialed heavy doses of LSD + Weirdomusic Drip, Drip, Drip + The Ramonas Let’s Dance + WOMPS recording with Steve Albini in Chicago, captured by Katie Strang + AD&THEFILMTAXI X + Jean-Philippe Renoult Nosey Noises, a medley of George Clinton’s nostril noise and breathing + Jeff Young Chapter III (ocean) and Chapter IV (ritual) + Noisesurfer Silence and Water.

Artwork by Arnold McBay, design by 67projects, Peter Jaeger track mastered by Ken Brake at Regal Lane Studio, London. This is cantaudio047, 2018.

Edition of 250, 60-minute audio track on CD in 215gsm card wallet finished with Gloss Machine finish, plus 1″ button badge. Available for £10 including p&p by PayPal

Please donate to the Priscila Uppal Memorial Fund, which supports a Fellowship in Creative Writing at York University. Priscila was a great mentor, colleague, friend, author and teacher — she will be missed by so many.

X-Peri features 9 samples from my Vexations Vol.4 … and a review by Nathan Spoon of my a, A Novel.

new from Ireland’s REDFOXPRESS is COUNTER/WEIGHT, a collection of letraset-based visual poems which explore fractures and remnants, pieces and crumbs in symmetrical radiation …