Bob Stallworthy has been active in the Alberta writing community since he began writing full-time and professionally in 1985. He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.
Bob has 4 books of poetry previously published. His poetry has been shortlisted for the City of Calgary, W.O. Mitchell Book Prize twice and the Stephan G. Stephansson Prize for Poetry once.
He is co-recipient of the Calgary Freedom of Expression Award, 2002; a Lifetime member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta,1988; and the recipient of the Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, 2019.
He has been a Patient/Family Advisor with the Kidney Health, Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services since 2016. He is a full-time caregiver for his wife who suffered traumatic kidney failure in 2013.
I’ve known of Bob Stallworthy and his poetry since the early 80s when I was working at Books n Books in Calgary, and he was a regular customer as well as a poet learning his trade. I got to know Bob and his wife Marilyn much better when I began promoting Alberta authors in 2009. He was with me right from the beginning, along with Betty Jane Hegerat and a few other authors you’ll meet later on this blog, and I managed to get Bob a couple of reading gigs at library conferences and in rural libraries. Bob was also our knight in shining armour on one of those road trips when I’d failed to notice, as we were driving through Red Deer on our way home to Calgary, that I was running low on gas … and it was snowing. Thanks, Bob! And, if I remember correctly, this was when we were coming back from a library event where a reader cried when you read one of your poems. That was quite a moving experience for all who were present.
Here’s more information about one of those talks Bob developed and delivered to librarians. One thing I’d always been told by librarians as to why they seldom if ever bought books of poetry for their collections was that it was difficult to interest readers in actually borrowing and reading poetry. This was Bob’s reply to that problem:
Taking the Ouch out of Poetry
I created the talk because it seemed that everywhere I went people would tell me how much they disliked poetry, especially as a child/student. They were always surprised when I suggested that they used poetry (not necessarily literary poetry, but poetry nonetheless) more often than they thought they did. I would ask them to think of how many times they bought birthday cards, anniversary cards, sympathy cards, etc. As I said, not always “literary poetry”, but still poetry or verse. My hope was simply to suggest that poetry, in all its forms, does have at least one reason to be a part of this world we live in.
I suggested to the audience that I had not always liked poetry. That as a student/child I often wondered why I had to be bothered with poetry. I said that, as with so many things in our world, when I began to write poetry I also began to understand it in a way that had not occurred to me before. I started to write poetry because I failed miserably at writing short stories and novels. When I did start to write more or less full time, the things I wanted to write about and the form in which the words fell onto the page seemed to be poetry. Once I started writing in this form, I discovered how much fun it was, and how hard it was, to work with words.
And Bob Stallworthy has some exciting news to share! His new book, Impact Statement, will be released in April, 2020, by Frontenac House.
Impact Statement is a book of transitions.Transitions that are brought about by a catastrophic health situation. Transitions in life brought on by facing the potential for death and dying to happen at any time; being desperate enough to ask for help from a long ignored faith; the realization that a long time loving relationship has been neglected; understanding that that relationship can be weeded and tended like a garden until it blooms again. This is, in every sense, a book of love poems.
This book has a “story arch” that spans the 5 years 2013 -2018. It was written with the help and guidance of my mentor, friend, and poet, Richard Harrison. Both within the writers’ group he facilitates and outside of the group, Richard gave me the permission and encouragement to return to my writing in very small steps. The Thursday night poetry group gave much in the way of support and patience during this process as well.
Our friends have been phenomenal is the support that they have given us and continue to give us. In fact, the experiences which made this book possible are responsible for teaching me the meaning of REAL friendship. Because of events early in my life, a lesson that has taken 50 years to learn.
Other books by Bob Stallworthy:
Under the Sky Speaking, Snowapple Press, 1998
From a Call Box, Frontenac House, 2001
Optics, Frontenac House, 2004
Things that Matter Now, Frontenac House, 2009.
In Silhouette, an e-book hosted by Frontenac House, 2010
Here’s more information in online articles by and about Bob Stallworthy:
“What Can a Poet Say to a Fiction Writer About Writing?” on the blogsite, Fictorians.
On Being Awarded the Golden Pen by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta in 2019.
Bob Stallworthy was part of the first group of authors I hosted for the Alberta Books Canada Literary Salons in Calgary.
And Bob was also one of the authors who bid me adieu at a farewell luncheon, just before I moved away from Calgary (the last time!) in 2012. l-r: Anne Sorbie, Bob Stallworthy, Betty Jane Hegerat, Susan Toy, Lori Hahnel, Barb Howard.