Post-glacial is a collection of poems by Robert Kroetsch selected by his former student David Eso. The book features Kroetsch’s iconic collection, Completed Field Notes, alongside rare work gathered from different stages of Kroetsch’s career. The book contains an afterword by Aritha van Herk.
Kroetsch’s poetry evolved from short lyric poetry in the 1960s to postmodern long poems in the 1970s and 80s. Kroetsch’s work in the 1990s and 2000s was marked by the production of experimental chapbooks. Yet it is in the 2000s that Kroetsch’s celebrated The Hornbooks of Rita K and his final collection, Too Bad, were published. Post-glacial presents the material in a thematic arc that follows daily, seasonal, and biographical topics. The collection moves from moods of morning, spring, and youth to shades of darkness, winter, and mourning.
In the introduction, Eso charts Kroetsch’s early attempts at poetry in his teenage and undergraduate years. Eso takes the title Post-glacial from the poem “Lonesome Writer Diptych” and proposes the term as an alternative to “postmodernism,” a term often used by critics to describe Kroetsch’s work. Post-glacial emphasizes the poet’s interest in landscape, ecology, history, the presence of absence, and the endurance of a living past.
About the authors
Robert Kroetsch was a teacher, editor and award-winning writer. Born in Heisler, Alberta, in 1927, Kroetsch grew up on his parents' farm and studied at the University of Alberta and the University of Iowa. He taught at the State University of New York, Binghamton, until the late 1970s and then returned to Canada, where he taught at the University of Calgary and the University of Manitoba from the 1970s through the 1990s. Kroetsch also spent time at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts and many writer-in-residencies, where he powerfully influenced recent writing on the Canadian prairies and elsewhere. His generosity of spirit and openness to the new showed many authors new ways to pursue their own kinds of writing. In honour of both his writing and his contributions to Canadian culture in general, Kroetsch was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2004. In 2011 he received the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award. Robert Kroetsch died in a car accident outside of Edmonton, Alberta, in 2011.
David Eso's work as scholar, poet, anthologist, and impresario unites Canadian literary heritage with its impending renaissance. Eso has appeared in Filling Station, CV2, Strangers in Paris, Canadian Literature, Arc, Freefall, Vallum, Under the Mulberry Tree, the Globe and Mail, and on CBC. His chapbooks include Entries from My Affair with an Escape Artist (2003), A Wide Path to the Narrowing Future (2010) and Asiarific (2014). As a familiar face at literary readings across Canada, Charles Noble calls Eso "a force of nature and force of culture." Eso is currently a graduate student at the University of Calgary where he is studying the letters of Robert Kroetsch.
Aritha van Herk teaches Creative Writing, Canadian Literature and Contemporary Narrative. Her novels include Judith, The Tent Peg, No Fixed Address (nominated for the Governor General's Award for fiction), Places Far From Ellesmere (a geografictione) and Restlessness. Her critical works, A Frozen Tongue (ficto-criticism) and In Visible Ink (crypto-frictions) stretch the boundaries of the essay and interrogate questions of reading and writing as aspects of narrative subversion. With Mavericks: an Incorrigible History of Alberta (winner of the Grant MacEwan Author's Award) van Herk ventured into new territory, transforming history into a narratological spectacle. That book frames the new permanent exhibition that opened at the Glenbow Museum in 2007. van Herk is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and is active in Canada's literary and cultural life, writing articles and reviews as well as creative work. She has served on many juries, including the Governor General's Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. She is well known in the broader community of the city, the province, and the country as a writer and a public intellectual.
Other titles by Robert Kroetsch
Other titles by David Eso
Other titles by Aritha Van Herk
Recognition and Revelation
Short Nonfiction Writings
An Anthology of Essays
The Frontier of Patriotism
Alberta and the First World War
Stampede and the Westness of West
Photographs by George Webber
In This Place
Not Drowning But Waving
Women, Feminism, and the Liberal Arts
One West, Two Myths II
Essays on Comparison