Alice Major has published eleven collections of poetry, two novels for young adults and an award-winning collection of essays about poetry and science. She came to Edmonton the long way round. She grew up in Dumbarton, Scotland – a small town on the banks of the Clyde, not far from Glasgow. Her family came to Canada when she was eight, and she grew up in Toronto before coming west to work as a reporter on The Williams Lake Tribune in British Columbia. Alice Major has lived in Edmonton, Alberta since 1981.
Alice has been an active supporter of the arts and writing community:
First poet laureate for the City of Edmonton (2005-7)
Past president of the League of Canadian Poets,
Past president of the Writers Guild of Alberta,
Past chair of the Edmonton Arts Council.
Founder, Edmonton Poetry Festival
Alice reads her work frequently at many venues across Canada. She has also read in Britain at the University of Leeds, and in Australia at the Varuna Writers Centre in Katoomba and the NSW Writers Centre.
Alice’s work has been broadcast a number of times on the CBC’s “Alberta Anthology.” Other performances include the Time Capsule project (for Edmonton’s Symphony Hall), and a Gala Performance for the Global Arts & Culture Symposium at the University of Alberta. (The last event was directed by Veronica Tennant)
She has taught numerous sessions for schools and young writers’ conferences in Alberta on writing poetry. She has been creative writing instructor for the Lakeland College Summer Program and writer-in-residence at Grant McEwen Community College in Edmonton.
Alice Major also recently received an honorary degree from the University of Alberta and delivered the speech at their convocation. (Her introduction and speech begin at 37:43.)
During 2008-9, I was the Alberta sales rep for the University of Alberta Press and eventually met Alice Major who had already published several books with the scholarly press by that point. I attended a number of Press events in Edmonton over the following years where I had an opportunity to meet and talk with Alice in person, and then I continued to promote her books (through the Press) when I set up Alberta Books Canada. She has been a tremendous support, not only to me, but to our fellow authors, and for that, and her enthusiasm about the writing, I thank Alice Major heartily!
Alice was also among the authors UAP brought from Edmonton to Calgary for the final Literary Salon, which the Press co-sponsored.
Welcome to the Anthropocene
Robert Kroetsch Series
Alice Major observes the comedy and the tragedy of this human-dominated moment on Earth. Major’s most persistent question—“Where do we fit in the universe?”—is made more urgent by the ecological calamity of human-driven climate change. Her poetry leads us to question human hierarchies, loyalties, and consciousness, and challenges us to find some humility in our overblown sense of our cosmic significance.
Here’s a link to an exceptionally comprehensive look at Alice Major’s work, and Welcome to the Anthropocene in particular, on Kathleen Wall’s blog, Blue Duets.
Here are a pair of podcasts in which Alice Major is interviewed about her writing and Welcome to the Anthropocene.
For more information about Alice Major, her books and writing, please see her website.
Alice Major was a guest on my blog, Reading Recommendations on July 27, 2015.