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Books Written or Edited by SHARON BERG

Edited by SHARON BERG

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Stars in the Junkyard is my latest poetry collection, released in late 2020. It is both hard-hitting and tender as it delves into some difficult subjects. It took more than thirty years to publish, though many of its poems followed closely on the heels of my second book. However, it's double the size of regular poetry books. Much of my best poetry is included here. It was published in 2020 by Cyberwit Inc.

Back cover blurbs:

RUSSELL THORNTON says: "Berg is a 'truth teller' - and no matter how painful the truth, whether of her own searing individual history or the wider world's, she refuses to pretend her way out of it... [T]his is a transforming, triumphant book -- and a valuable one".

MAUREEN HYNES says: "With clarity, purpose and skill, Sharon Berg examines losses, traumas, betrayals -- both personal and political. ...Berg's vision extends widely across continents, and is especially compelling and compassionate in her long poem about the 1990 Oka crisis.

Reviews

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3421511075

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                                                  Naming the Shadows means to do just

                                                  that, name the negative things that often

                                                  shadow us through our lives. It assembles

                                                  a collection of tales dealing with the

                                                  negative shadows that might collect in

                                                  anyone's life, while acknowledging the

                                                  existence of positive light. It draws on

                                                  experiences that intersect the secrets

                                                  children don't share with their parents

                                                  and those that adults don't share with

                                                  their partners. It expresses some of the

                                                  grief felt by a single parent and her

                                                  struggling teenage daughter who manage

                                                  to see each other differently after noting

                                                  how each of them deals with their fears.

This is a book that faces trouble head on in ordinary lives. Listed on 49th Shelf's 'Most Anticipated Books' for Fall 2020, it is a collection of nine shorts stories and two novelettes As Berg quotes C.G. Jung at the front of the book, "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." The book is beautifully published by Porcupine's Quill (2019) with a cover by Liana Russwurm.

Reviews

Three people offer reviews at the link below. They are Debbie Okun Hill, Lucy Black, and Bianca Lakoseljac's review in Prairie Fire is also copied.

​Read these reviews by following this link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44326748-naming-the-shadows

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                                              The Name Unspoken: Wandering Spirit 

                                               Survival School is a cross genre book

                                               offering a well-researched narrative

                                               history of the first Native Way school in

                                               Canada. It started life a an M.Ed. thesis.

                                               The school was founded in the living room

                                               of Pauline Shirt as a private school in

                                               September 1976 and it was adopted by the

                                               Toronto Board of Education in February

                                               1977 as an Alternative Culture School. It

                                               was the only one of its kind before the

                                               founding of the Afrocentric School in

                                               September 2009.

                                                        The name Wandering Spirit came to

Pauline Shirt as a Cree Chief who should be remembered with pride if you  read between the lines in white history texts which had twisted the story and painted him as a traitor to Canada hung in 1885. The words Survival School meant survival of a culture that had been forced underground by a government who imprisoned the first peoples of the land and stole their children from them with the aim of wiping the Indian out of the Indian. This was meant to be a learning place unlike any other Canadian school because it focused on giving First Nations students a comfortable place where they could learn about their culture and tradition in the companionship with others of a like mind.

          Indeed, despite many struggles, including its renaming as First Nations School for close to 30 years, the school has been renamed Wandering Spirit and it still survives. In fact, it was moved into its own building in January 2017. That is unusual for an Alternative School. However, Wandering Spirit began to offer high school classes in September 2018, adding a grade each year following. In September 2021, WSSS will offer all grades. This book was published in a run of 50 by Big Pond Rumours Press (2019).

Reviews:

In 2020, The Name Unspoken: Wandering Spirit Survival School won

a Bronze Ippy Award for Regional Nonfiction in Eastern Canada.

"I thought the narrative arc and the book's structure were fantastic. I particularly loved the non-linear aspect of the narrative and how that was a perfect "show, don't tell" example of the Indigenous concept of time and view of history/community, which of course all ties back to the story of WSSS. The narrative arc presented an evolving, complex picture."

                               Whistler Independent Book Awards Review, 2020

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Two Purdys is a book I worked on

over several years in the role as

my brother's agent, editor, and

book designer. It goes without

saying, I offered editorial advice

as I typed and retyped poems, 

designing the manuscript's face.

My work with Brian stretched in

all directions over countless hours

and years as anyone can imagine. 

It was begun formally in 2016 and

the book was finally published

in by Potterfield Press (October, 2023) Nova Scotia.

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Before the Heart Went Down is a

book that remained in its planning

stage for three decades. Robert

Billings is a renowned poet and

editor who disappeared suddenly

on All Hallows Eve, 1986. He had

mailed a letter to his ex-wife.His

body was discovered in Spring

1987. He'd given me 10 unpublish-

ed poems the last time we met. I

wanted to honour Robert and his

work. I thought of releasing a

chapbook but Richard Olafson of Exstasis Editions said create a 'Selected Poems' with the previously uncollected poems as an end section. In the midst of doing this, James Deahl told me that Robert published several pieces from a ms. called 'The White City Poems' in Malahat Review. I discovered two additional poems that didn't appear in his books there. I asked Robert's wife if she knew of other uncollected work. She told me she'd tossed his things long ago and gave me permission to 'do what I wanted' with the poems I had. This book is the result. It includes a memoir by Cathy Ford, President of the League of Canadian Poets while Robert Was VP (the year he disappeared) and another by myself. Published by Cyberwit (2020).

 

JAMES DEAHL says: "Robert Billings possessed an outstanding talent... I soon became convinced that Robert Billings was the foremost poet of his generation."

BRUCE MEYER says: "As someone who knew and published the work of Robert Billings this book is long overdue.Although few recognized it at the time, Billings was one of the leading lights of Canadian poetry in the Eighties."

MICHAEL CLARKSON, a school friend of Robert, says: ...Sharon Berg has captured the enigmatic, sometimes elusive, but always spiritually-provoking Robert Billings in this collection of his poems... I am thrilled that she is keeping his memory alive with these gems of man's connection to nature, of mortality, of family, of problematic and yet somehow romantic flashes of city life. The 12 unpublished works are a huge bonus.

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Earlier books

Sharon took a break from her focus on creative writing while she studied in university. Her break also extended through the first years of her teaching career. In 2006 she founded Big Pond Rumours E-Zine (an international journal) & associated press to stay in touch with the writing community. In the process, she also published two chapbooks by her brother, Brian Purdy. They are: A Poet's Garden of Pointers (BPR Press 2007) and Black Ink: Portraits (BPR Press 2016).

 

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In addition to releasing these chapbooks by Brian Purdy, Sharon gained loads of book design experience through publishing the winners of the contests in Big Pond Rumours E-Zine, including: Phil Elliott, Tom Gannon Hamilton, Debbie Okun Hill, John B. Lee, Wendy Maclean, John Oughton, Bob Wakulich, and others.

 

 

She also published three chapbooks of her own with Big Pond Rumours Press: Odyssey and Other Poems (2017), The Great Hoop Dance (2016), and Black Moths (2006).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2007, Sharon released a CD through Big Pond Rumours Press called Sharon Berg that featured a poetry performance done in Ottawa in 1984.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That CD drew on two audio tapes: Black Moths (Public Energies, 1986) and Tape 5 (Gallery 101 Editions, 1985, both recorded and produced by George Young.

Finally, Sharon Berg began her writing career with the release of To A Young Horse (Borealis Press, 1979). That debut was followed by her startling collection called The Body Labyrinth (Coach House Press, 1984.) Both o.o.p.

The Body Labyrinth was published by Coach House Press in 1984.

To a Young Horse was published by Borealis Press in 1979. It is my debut collection.

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