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Where I’m from and where I’m going and how I am doing. Also known as the shape I’m in. I identify as a writer with disabilities, or if you prefer a neurodiverse crip writer.

Prince Henry of Wellington. aka Duke of Delusion. Image thanks to Murray Toews.

I  was born in Winnipeg in 1955, raised in Gretna, Manitoba, and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1979 with a History/English major An advanced creative writing workshop with Robert Kroetsch led to the publication of my first collection, Jimmy Bang Poems (Turnstone 1979). A co-founder of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild in 1981, I moved to Regina in 1982 to accept the position of the Executive Director at the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild and to found Windscript magazine, publishing the literary and visual art of Saskatchewan high school students. My next book, Correct in this Culture (5th House) was published in 1985. I was recruited by Ken Kramer in 1988 as the General Manager of the Globe Theatre in Regina to manage their conversion from a founder’s run organization to one responsible to a public Board of Directors.

I spent the next decade in arts administration, including four years as the Executive Director of the Manitoba Arts Council. While recovering from a serious episode of clinical depression, which cost me my job, and helped by my brother, Garry, president of the Mennonite Literary Society, I founded Rhubarb magazine in 1998. Forty-two issues were published by the Society until 2018,  sustained by volunteers, donors and subscribers.

Recovery aided by talk therapy and medication helped me to return to arts management and productivity as a writer, publishing Lucky Man (Hagios 2005),  boy (Hagios 2012) and Afghanistan Confessions (2014), written after my visit to Kabul in May 2008, and subsequent interviews with Canadian veterans back in Winnipeg.

I married Lynn Chalmers in 2007, and have three biological and two step-children, all successfully launched. Five grandchildren are a delight. Lynn and I separated and then divorced 2017. My collection Love & Surgery was published by Radiant Press ion September 2019.

My struggles have become more physical since 2010, with seven osteo surgeries since 2012, and more ahead. Hello arthritis and so long pain-free days. Details are recounted in “Old Bones and New Normals” on this website.  I received a Canada Council for the Arts grant  as a deaf and disability artist in 2020 for a new project called Listen,Here, now called ListenHear. You can follow my progress on this website under the ListenHear tab. With the arrival of Covid-19, many writers and artists, including me starting making work available virtually as solo artists. Check out my Abject Alphabet for the results!

Land acknowledgement: Respectfully acknowledging that I live and work in the unceded and ancestral territory of the Syilx peoples. 

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