About the Author David Helwig

David Helwig

Born in Toronto in 1938, David Helwig attended the University of Toronto and the University of Liverpool. His first stories were published in Canadian Forum and The Montrealer while he was still an undergraduate. He then went on to teach at Queen's University. He worked in summer stock with the Straw Hat Players, mostly as a business manager and technician, rubbing elbows with such actors as Gordon Pinsent, Jackie Burroughs and Timothy Findley.

While at Queen's University, Helwig did some informal teaching in Collins Bay Penitentiary and subsequently wrote A Book About Billie with a former inmate.

Helwig has also served as literary manager of CBC Television Drama, working under John Hirsch, supervising the work of story editors and the department's relations with writers.

In 1980, he gave up teaching and became a full-time freelance writer. He has done a wide range of writing -- fiction, poetry, essays -- authoring more than twenty books. Helwig is also the founder and long-time editor of the Best Canadian Stories annual. In 2009 he was named as a member of the Order of Canada.

David Helwig lives in the village of Eldon on Prince Edward Island, where he is the third Poet Laureate. He indulges his passion for vocal music by singing with choirs in Montreal, Kingston, and Charlottetown. He has appeared as bass soloist in Handel's Messiah, Bach's St Matthew Passion and Mozart's Requiem.

Books by this Author


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'Norma was grooming her wolf when the tenant arrived. She had bought a cheap hairbrush from the grocery store and she was brushing the hair of her new stuffed wolf, getting a lot of dust and dirt out of him. The creature was starting to look quite handsome, glass eyes wiped with spit and kleenex and now very bright. She looked toward her tenant, the putative murderer, who was coming toward her. ...'

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The Stand-In

The Stand-In

also available: Paperback
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From Section Two:

'... one of the mirrors caught me and showed me myself. As I looked, I thought about that old trick of exposition, found in bad fiction, where the main character looks in the mirror and the author is able to describe the long pale face.... A face that a woman, in the grip of whatever madness, once called beautiful.... The mirror gives us an author's eye view of ourselves.'

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About Love

About Love

Three Stories by Anton Chekhov
by Anton Chekhov
translated by David Helwig
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The Essential Tom Marshall

'Words For H.S.K.M. (1910-91)'

The Kennedy profile recumbent
is like a craggy mountain range
rising above the oak casket.

Time's scythe has had its way with her.
The Ancient of Days has drawn a line
around her. She survives herself no more.

For years she had been receding
little by little. She had been
remembered in dreams as younger, stronger.

A shrunken woman, kindly, distant,
not that terrifying sorceress
not yet the strong, protective matrona.

Mother, in your darkness and light
I grew. Your love of music and reading.
Your hatred of space and freedom.

Curious contradictions of
anxiety, nerves, depression
persisting through generations

of Kennedys working the land.
Whence comes all that depth of darkness?
From Scotland's internecine turmoil?

Human mysteries persist, deepen.
There is no resolution. Only pain
familiar and defining, strengthening.

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