Two Poets with Four Portraits in Saskatoon

Once upon a time Laura Ritland and I co-wrote and co-illustrated Four Portraits, a chapbook of poems and drawings. Then—with support from the wonderful folk of JackPine Press—we spent hours and hours making the 75 limited edition chapbooks by hand. This process involved a lot of gluing and folding, and scoring and folding, and cutting out of a lot of circles. Here are some pictures of that process.

With finished chapbooks in our luggage, we hopped onto a plane to Saskatoon. On Saturday, June 25, we gathered at The Woods Alehouse for the JackPine Press launch. James Pepler (poet) and Tom Boyko (artist) launched their video game-inspired chapbook, Side Quest. Wendy Donawa (poet) and Terry Ann Carter (paper expert and book designer) launched their book, The Gorge. Lovely people, all! And, of course, Laura and I read from our book, too. You can find copies of the book through the JackPine Press website. Our thanks to the JackPine Press collective, for their support through the book-making process, and to Lisa Johnson, for welcoming us so wholeheartedly to the city (and making sure we found the ice cream stand that’s run out of an old British double-decker bus).

Laura Ritland & I pose with the Saskatchewan River & copies of our chapbook, Four Portraits 

Laura and I had an amazing time exploring Saskatoon. We admired, especially, the white pelicans fishing by the weir, as well as the many songbirds we saw beside the river. We similarly were delighted by all the delicious things we ate, but none more than the raspberry creme cruffins we discovered at Little Bird Patisserie & Cafe. We are true cruffin believers.

We also had a wonderful time (read: an entire afternoon) browsing and buying books at McNally Robinson, where I was pleased to find copies of Boobs on the shelves, and where Laura and I posed with the JackPine Press poster for the chapbook launch because we could. We are so grateful to everyone who supported us as we pursued this project, and are completely charmed by Saskatoon.

One more special thank you to Elise Marcella Godfrey, a dear friend and poet who returned to the West Coast this year but who spent the previous six years in Saskatoon and graciously provided us with a “to do and eat in Saskatoon” list that we may or may not have followed exactly. Poets like plans!

Be sure to visit the JackPine Press website to learn more about Four Portraits and get your copy of our handmade book!



Published by Ruth Daniell

Ruth Daniell is a speech arts teacher, a book editor, and an award-winning writer. Her first full-length collection of poems is The Brightest Thing (Caitlin Press, 2019). She lives in Kelowna, BC, where is at work on her second collection of poems.

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