Friday 8 June 2012

Brenda Schmidt's place

Brenda Schmidt is a writer, painter and birdwatcher living in northern Saskatchewan. She has two new books out, Grid, a poetry collection, published by Hagios Press and Flight Calls: An Apprentice on the Art of Listening, published by Kalamalka Press. For me, reading Brenda's work is like taking a walk with a patient listener who knows when to speak and when to stay silent.  She has a wit as sharp and dry as the prairie landscape. Of her new book, a critic says, "You can just feel the stones rattling off your undercarriage on this Grid." (Star Phoenix) You can find out more about Brenda Schmidt and see some of her art here. Below, she tells us about one of the places she likes to write:

The Barn at Northhill

For years I attended retreats at St. Peter’s Abbey and met many writers and artists from across Canada. Those were productive times. Since 2008, however, I’ve been drawn to more private places. Last summer Tracy Hamon invited me along on a writing retreat at The Barn at Northhill Cottage, an acreage property above the Frenchman River, on the edge of Eastend, Saskatchewan. It was clean and open, the vaulted ceiling almost challenging me to keep reaching, and reach I did. It was by far my most productive retreat. We had our own rooms, each with a writing desk, large windows, and a spectacular view of the hills. Each morning before I began writing, I’d sit on the deck with my coffee and read. Wrens and towhees sang nearby. Each evening we’d hike and return just as the nighthawks were feeding. I like to think all the calls and song helped me along.

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