Karen Clavelle is a Winnipeg poet, writer, playwright, and educator whose debut poetry collection, IOLAIRE (Turnstone), won the John Hirsch Most Promising Writer Award (2018). The book was nominated for the League of Canadian Poet’s Gerald Lampert Award for Most Promising Writer (2018), the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher, and the Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. In IOLAIRE , she weaves a heart-rending story around letters and news clippings from the sinking of HMY IOLAIRE. Her forthcoming book, The Mother Goose Letters (At Bay Press), takes a whimsical look at migration from the vantage point of a runaway Mother Goose corresponding with her most famous nursery rhyme characters. Karen’s work has been published in At Bay’s Fiction Annual (2018), Border Crossings, CVII, Prairie Fire, and academic journals. Karen holds a PhD (Eng.), a creative MA, Ed. Cert., and B. Music (Hist.). She has taught English Lit. and Prairie Lit. at the University of Manitoba, and Language Arts and Music in primary schools. She has received scholarships and grants from the Canada Council, SHRCC, and the Manitoba Arts Council. Karen has attended numerous writing workshops at (among others): Sage Hill, Victoria School of Writing, Prairie Theatre Exchange School, and the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture (UofM). Her play, “Crossword,” was a finalist in the “Sarasvati Bake Offs” (2015). She has given conference talks on the Long Poem, migration, and the Canadian North, and read her work in Canada, Scotland, and Spain, at the Winnipeg International Writer’s Festival, Thin Air (2018), at libraries and bookstores, at PTE, MAP, Sarasvati, and at CKUW and CJNU radio. Karen’s current work includes: BiRDSONG, poems (atelier78, Nov. 2018), collected poetry, a bound edition of four commissioned collectors’ edition poems, “The Seasons” (At Bay, forthcoming, 2019), hybrid literary travel-journals, a drama inspired by the first and only woman hanged in Manitoba, and a series of short fiction pieces. Long involved with chapbook publishing in Winnipeg, Karen is the founder of atelier78 press, and a founding member of the enigmatic and somnambulant pachyderm press. She is a board member of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights and a former board member of the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg. She is an active member of a radio play troupe (Brian Richardson, director), and current Writer in Residence at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba.
hither shall I wander? This question can be a delightful start to considering the history of the inestimable Mother Goose,