Born in the farming community of Castor, Alberta, Rosemary Griebel grew up on the prairies. Currently Special Projects Manager with the Calgary Public Library, where she has worked for 20 years, Rosemary’s poems have been published on CBC’s radio program Anthology, in national journals, in the Calgary Transit’s “Poetry in Motion” series of in-vehicle posters, and in chapbooks by Leaf Press. Her poems have won FreeFall Magazine’s national poetry contest three times – in the second year of the contest, two of her poems, unknown to the judges to be by the same author, tied for first place.
Dennis and I both met Rosemary Griebel’s husband long before I ever got to know Rosemary herself. Richard Harvey was managing one of the two private wine stores that had been newly opened in Calgary, and it was located, conveniently, on our drive from our jobs downtown to our house in the southwest. Everyone should have a personal wine merchant! It wasn’t until many years later, When Rosemary had launched her book of poetry and was reading at a bookstore as part of a Freefall Magazine event that she came up and introduced herself to me, saying, “I think you know my husband!” Rosemary was also a librarian, working for the Calgary Public Library, so it was a given that I would want to promote her book of poetry, Yes., at the various library conferences where I was displaying books and speaking about Alberta authors. Rosemary was also one of the authors who took part in the first literary salon I organized.
The truly lovely connection though that I maintain with Rosemary Griebel is that while I’m living at my house in the Caribbean during the winter months, I listen to Bob Chelmick’s radio programme The Road Home that is available online. Bob reads poetry and plays lovely music, and prerecorded poetry read by the poets themselves. It has never ceased to amaze me how often I turn on The Road Home and hear … Rosemary Griebel’s voice! I recognize her immediately! And, believe it or not, Rosemary, I even heard you reading “St. Stephen’s Church, December Night” while I’ve been preparing this promotion for you! (I wrote a blog post about this connection I have through The Road Home with authors back in Canada. Another of these authors will be appearing here in a few days’ time.)
“Witness” is a fine word to describe Rosemary Griebel’s attitude to life, to writing. Not just witness in the sense of one who sees what anyone in the same place would see, but witness in the religious sense as well – one who understands and speaks of the miracles that linger in the day-to-day. An intensely reflective poet, Rosemary’s work calls on the stink of the pig sty, the luminous words of Basho, the hoarse prayers of Walt Whitman. Yes is Rosemary Griebel’s long-awaited first book, an intimate journey through love and loss, an affirmation of the importance of curiosity, passion and vision.
Yes. is published by Frontenac House. Please see their website for purchasing the book.
Something very exciting happened recently for both Rosemary Griebel and the entire writing community of Calgary – Project Bookmark Canada “planted” a plaque, the first in Alberta, as part of their “putting pieces of stories and poems in the exact, physical locations where literary scenes are set” – in this case, “Walking with Walt Whitman Through Calgary’s Eastside on a Winter Day,” by Rosemary Griebel!
Another project in which Rosemary Griebel has been instrumental in its execution is the new Central Branch of the Calgary Public Library that opened just over a year ago. As Rosemary explained, “There were so many people who worked on the New Central Library project so I don’t feel I deserve special mention. That said, I did work as the Assistant Project Manager for 10 years, and was involved in programs and curated displays that promote reading. I am particularly proud of the TD Great Reading Room, and the reverence that the room bestows on books, reading and the creative realm of silence.” I had the opportunity to see this new library when I was in Calgary last May and, as far as I’m concerned EVERYONE who had anything to do with executing this project should stand up and take a bow. It’s magnificent! Take a look at these two videos, from the library itself and the CBC News, and try to imagine just how spectacular it is in real life!