read an excerpt from There is no Mountain
read the stone-boat heart: letters to Andrew Suknaski by rob mclennan in the online poetry journal www.poetics.ca
read the editor's introduction to There Is No Mountain
Andrew Suknaski, known for over three decades as "the poet of Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan," is a poet and visual artist born on a homestead near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan in July 1942 to Julia (Karasinski) and Andrew Suknaski, Sr. of Ukrainian and Polish decent. He left home at 16, returned and left home again.
Until well into the 1980s, Andrew Suknaski was one of the most prolific, energetic and influential poets in the prairies, through heavy amounts of publishing in small press publications and elsewhere starting in the late 1960s, as well as his own Elfin Plot Press, and caught the eye of Ontario poet and editor Al Purdy, who included Suknaski's poems in his first Storm Warning Anthology (1970), before editing what would become Suknaski's first trade and most famous poetry collection, Wood Mountain Poems (1976).
In eight trade poetry collections and dozens of chapbooks, Suknaski's poems were written as stories about the land and the people that lived there, working their way toward myth, and the myth of the place, even as he told the "real story" of various residents of the village of Wood Mountain.
With much of his work long out of print, There Is No Mountain: Selected Poems of Andrew Suknaski weaves through two decades of the work of one of the most important and influential poets of the Canadian prairies.
His first collection was Wood Mountain Poems (1976), edited by Al Purdy, followed by The Ghosts Call You Poor (1978), and In the Name of Narid (1981). Ghosts won Suknaski the Canadian Authors Association Poetry Award in 1979.
His other books include Montage for an Interstellar Cry (1982) and Silk Trail (1985). Suknaski's poems have appeared in such anthologies as Number One Northern (1977) and Studio One: Stories Made for Radio (1990).
He has worked as a researcher for the National Film Board, contributed to such films as Grain Elevator (1981) by Charles Konowal, and The Disinherited (1985) by Harvey Spak. In 1978, Spak made a documentary of Suknaski entitled Wood Mountain Poems. Suknaski's Polish and Ukrainian heritage, his concern for First Nations, and the people and place of Wood Mountain feature strongly in his realist poetry, and his work continues to be studied across Canada. In 2006, Regina's Hagios Press reissued Suknaski's Wood Mountain Poems as a thirtieth anniversary edition.
rob mclennan is an Ottawa-based writer, editor and publisher. The author of fourteen poetry collections, two books of non-fiction and a novel, he has edited a number of anthologies and collections including Written in the Skin (1998), Shadowy Technicians: New Ottawa Poets (2000), You and your bright ideas: new Montreal writing (w/ Andy Brown, 2001), GROUNDSWELL, best of above/ground press, 1993-2003 (2003), Decalogue: ten Ottawa poets (2006) as well as a forthcoming issue of Open Letter magazine. As well as working on three books of critical essays for Guernica Editions on the works of George Bowering, John Newlove and Andrew Suknaski, he is putting the finishing touches on Nebulous medicine: the essays, statements and reviews of Andrew Suknaski for NeWest Press' writer as critic series.