William Robertson writes with a quiet, unpretentious gait. He leads us through the beauty he finds within the simplicity of an honest life. His poems explore how his roles as father and grandfather allow him to share his love of the natural world, and his passions ignite especially when he writes about his love of birds. He asks if it would be possible for us all to be lovers of birds with the ardour of St. Frances of Assisi. “In the creek, birds I’ll probably never name explain their desire.” He writes as if quiet devotion just might release their thoughts.
William Robertson is a poet, university English instructor, freelance writer, reviewer, and broadcaster. He has published four collections of poems, the most recent of which is Just Living (2005), and a biography of a singer, k.d. lang: Carrying the Torch (1993). He has edited two collections of his Indian Teacher Education Program students’ creative writing, the most recent of which is Where I’m From: ITEP Creative Writing 2005-2013. He has also contributed chapters to books on fishing and on the literary history of Saskatchewan.
He was born in Tokyo and has lived in various places in both Japan and Canada, including Ontario, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. He graduated from high school in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan and went on to do a BA and an MA at the University of Saskatchewan. He was on the editorial board of the NeWest Review for ten years. He has also reviewed plays, books, and musical events for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, to which he has contributed since 1979, and for fifteen years reviewed plays and concerts for CBC Saskatchewan. He was also a regular panelist on the national CBC’s Talking Books program for all of its eleven-year tenure.He teaches English and creative writing in Saskatoon, did so in Prince Albert for twenty-two years at St. Peter’s College in Muenster, Saskatchewan, and at St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon.
William Robertson’s engaging animal encounter poems come from that place where experience segues into anecdote and anecdote into kitchen table wisdom. Walking-paced, often wry, low-falutin in manner and speech, they channel the music of the vernacular, where ‘official’ walleye are still pickerel and even fish tales need no inflation to make them sing.
— Don McKay
This long overdue new collection by William Robertson celebrates the transformative moments that illuminate the everyday — a raven in flight, a son’s laughter, a fisherman’s perfectly-cast fly touching down on the surface of the stream. As the title suggests, the poems search for the true sentiment, the true image or insight to light out way, to guide us through the losses that accumulate in every human life.
— Elizabeth Philips, award-winning poet and novelist, author of Torch River and The Afterlife of Birds.
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