The Response of Weeds

By Bertrand Bickersteth

The Response of Weeds
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Winner of the 2021 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award!
Finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry and The 2020 City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize at the 2021 Alberta Literary Awards!
A 2020 CBC Poetry Book of the Year!
Finalist for the 2021 High Plains Book Awards ... Read more


Overview

Winner of the 2021 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award!
Finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry and The 2020 City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize at the 2021 Alberta Literary Awards!
A 2020 CBC Poetry Book of the Year!
Finalist for the 2021 High Plains Book Awards in the Poetry and First Book categories
Bertrand Bickersteth’s debut poetry collection explores what it means to be black and Albertan through a variety of prisms: historical, biographical, and essentially, geographical. The Response of Weeds offers a much-needed window on often overlooked contributions to the province’s character and provides personal perspectives on the question of black identity on the prairies. Through these rousing and evocative poems, Bickersteth uses language to call up the contours of the land itself, land that is at once mesmerizing as it is dismissively effacing. Such is black identity here on this paradoxical land, too.

Bertrand Bickersteth

Born in Sierra Leone, Bertrand Bickersteth grew up in Edmonton, Calgary, and Olds, Alberta. After an English degree at UBC, Bertrand continued studying in the U.K. and later taught in the U.S. A return to Alberta provided him with new insights on black identity and most of his writing has been committed to these perspectives ever since. Although he writes in several genres, anticlimactically, the topic is always the same: what does it mean to be black and from the prairies? He has also given many public talks including a TED Talk for BowValleyCollegeTEDx called The Weight of Words. His poetry has appeared in several publications, including most recently The Antigonish Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Fieldstone Review. He has also been published in The Great Black North and the forthcominganthology The Black Prairie Archives (2020). In 2018, he was longlistedfor the CBC Poetry Prize. He lives in Calgary, teaches at Olds College, and writes everywhere.

Awards

  • Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry at the 2021 Alberta Literary Awards 2021, Short-listed
  • High Plains Book Awards, Poetry Category 2021,
  • High Plains Book Awards, First Book Category 2021,
  • City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize at the 2021 Alberta Literary Awards 2020, Short-listed
  • Gerald Lampert Memorial Award 2021, Winner

Reviews

"In its form and content, The Response of Weeds represents a vigorous and erudite excavation of history and a carefully constructed reclamation of place, both geographically located and culturally significant. "
~ Valerie Mason-John, Quill & Quire

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