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The Snowbird Poems

by (author) Robert Kroetsch

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2004
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2004
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It's a matter of knowing winter. Snowbird travels south, seeks warmth, and begins waiting. Robert Kroetsch's new collection, The Snowbird Poems, is a brilliant flight of departure. Beached where he watches a drowning horizon, teased by romance, Snowbird lets his responses become a message in a bottle to the lost and for the found. Appearing at first wearing bifocals and drinking from a fake coconut, Snowbird goes on to retrieve the footprint of story from the ocean of memory.

About the author

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.

Robert Kroetsch's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The lovely thing about Kroetsch's "lifetime achievement" is that it's nowhere near finished. His masterful new book of poetry, The Snowbird Poems, his 13th, resonates within and extends his earlier writing..There are new timbres in the wry, sad voice we have encountered elsewhere in Kroetsch's poetry, as well as mingling layers of mythic allusion." Chris Wiebe, VUE Weekly, Dec 16-22

"Snowbird's self-deprecating and self-deconstructing observations are vintage Kroetsch..The long "Poem for My Dead Sister" manages to be deeply elegiac and deeply committed to wordplay and rhyme." Bert Almon, Canadian Book Review Annual, 2005.

"The Snowbird Poems is an impressive anthology of the poetry of Canadian literary icon Robert Kroetsch." Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Bookwatch, June 2005

"A glance through The Snowbird Poems.shows that Kroetsch is still in fine form when it comes to the long poem: the 107-page book is essentially four individual poems broken (and melded) into their components, iterative and process-oriented, and lays strong claim to continuing his earlier work." Matthew Holmes, Arc (Canada's National Poetry Magazine), Summer 2005

"It is a resonant moment when postmodern techniques are used to transcend, rather than revel in, the limits of language. This collection stands with the best of Kroetsch's impressive body of work." Adam Sol, Quill & Quire August 2004

"As the title suggests, these are holiday poems of a sort, or poems of refreshing, voluntary exile from oneself. We have every variety of prosaic spread and lyrical condensation, melancholic nostalgia and beach-ball whimsy." Jeffrey Davidson, The University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 75, Number 1, Winter 2006.

".the series succeeds in conveying the mixed blessing of an urban tropical vacation, [in a].not-quite-serious tone.Snowbird speaks with a poet's romanticism.Poems from This Part of the Country mark Kroetsch as part of that school of prairie writers who gift us with their mindfulness of place." Sonnet L'Abbe, The Globe & Mail

"These are dangling conversations, hints, and mere footprints in the sand of an endless shoreline. This is, in some sense, a collection of allusions." Anne Burke, Prairie Journal Trust, July 14, 2005

Other titles by Robert Kroetsch


The Poetry of Robert Kroetsch

by (author) Robert Kroetsch
edited by David Eso
afterword by Aritha van Herk


An Illustrated Tribute

by (author) Robert Kroetsch
photographs by George Webber

Too Bad

Sketches Toward a Self-Portrait

by (author) Robert Kroetsch

The Man from the Creeks

by (author) Robert Kroetsch
afterword by Sherrill Grace


An Anthology of New Poetry

edited by Jon Paul Fiorentino & Robert Kroetsch

Writing the Terrain

Travelling Through Alberta with the Poets

contributions by Ian Adam, Robert Stamp, Tammy Armstrong, Margaret Avison, Douglas Barbour, John O. Barton, Doug Beardsley, Bonnie Bishop, E.D. Blodgett, Robert Boates, George Bowering, Tim Bowling, Jan Boydol, Gordon Burles, Murdoch Burnett, Anne Campbell, Weyman Chan, Leonard Cohen, Dennis Cooley, Joan Crate, Michael Cullen, Cyril Dabydeen, Lorne Daniel, Alexa DeWiel, Jason Dewinetz, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cecelia Frey, Gary Geddes, Gail Ghai, Deborah Godin, Jim Green, Leslie Greentree, Vivian Hansen, Tom Henihan, Michael Henry, Walter Hildebrandt, Gerald Hill, Robert Hilles, Nancy Holmes, Richard Hornsey, Tom Howe, Aislinn Hunter, Bruce Hunter, Laurence Hutchman, Sally Ito, Pauline Johnson, Aleksei Kazuk, Robert Kroetsch, Fiona Lam, William Latta, Tim Lilburn, Alice Major, Kim Maltman, Miriam Mandel, Sid Marty, David McFadden, Barry McKinnon, Erin Michie, Deborah Miller, Anna Mioduchowska, James M. Moir, Colin Morton, Erin Moure, Charles Noble, P.K. Page, Rajinderpal Pal, Ruth Roach Pierson, Joseph Pivato, Roberta Rees, D.C. Reid, Monty Reid, R. rickey, Ken Rivard, Stephen Scobie, Allan Serafino, Joan Shillington, Greg Simison, Carol Ann Sokoloff, Karen Solie, Stephan Stephansson, Peter Stevens, Ivan Sundal, Anne Swannell, Vanna Tessier, Colleen Thibadeau, John O. Thompson, James M. Thurgood, Eva Tihanyi, Yvonne Trainer, Aritha van Herk, Rosalee van Stelten, Miriam Waddington, James Wreford Watson, Wilfred Watson, Tom Wayman, Phyllis Webb, Jon Whyte, Christine Wiesenthal, Sheri-D Wilson, Christopher Wiseman, Stacie Wolfer, Rita Wong, Richard Woollatt & Jan Zwicky

Seed Catalogue

A Poem

by (author) Robert Kroetsch
illustrated by Jim Westergard

The Studhorse Man

by (author) Robert Kroetsch
introduction by Aritha van Herk

Seed Catalogue

A Poem

by (author) Robert Kroetsch
illustrated by Jim Westergard

Gone Indian

by (author) Robert Kroetsch