The tragedy of Oscar Wilde

The Anglo-Irish playwright, poet and novelist ended up imprisoned, the casualty of his own foolishness

The tragedy of Oscar WildeOnce upon a time, I had an uncomplicated view of capital punishment. I was against it. Period. And a reading of the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde could reduce me to tears. Even now, with a much more nuanced view of the subject, the power of the language still moves me.…

Literary detective work leads to major book prize for U of A poet

Iman Mersal won the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Book Award for her creative non-fiction novel recounting the life of a gifted young author

Literary detective work leads to major book prize for U of A poetAs a young poet cutting her teeth in Cairo, Iman Mersal randomly picked up a novel she’d never heard of in a discount book market in 1993. She was immediately struck by the narrator’s voice, and the mystery surrounding a gifted but virtually unknown author who struggled to be an artist during the political turbulence of 1960s…

Graduation opens new chapter for Cree poet and Rhodes scholar

Billy-Ray Belcourt earns PhD while winning acclaim for his accounts of life as a gay Indigenous person in Western Canada

Graduation opens new chapter for Cree poet and Rhodes scholarSuccess was running Billy-Ray Belcourt ragged in the months before COVID-19. The Indigenous poet, scholar and national literary sensation was constantly on the road, attending literary festivals and making other appearances related to his two hit volumes of poetry – all while wrapping up a doctorate and adapting to his new role as professor of…

Democracy can’t afford to stifle dissent and discussion

Protesters have silenced free speech through a combination of media pressure, inflated security costs claims, boycotts, riots and violence

Democracy can’t afford to stifle dissent and discussionThe Cancel Culture has claimed another victim. Renowned poet George Elliott Clarke has backed out of giving the University of Regina’s Woodrow Lloyd Lecture over accusations from Indigenous activists that he associates with another poet with a criminal background. His talk was to have been titled ‘Truth and Reconciliation;’ versus the ‘Murdered and Missing’: Examining…

The enduring romance of the highwayman

Brave, dashing and manly, these social bandits have lofty status. But some, like Dick Turpin, fall far short of the glowing stereotype

The enduring romance of the highwaymanIf memory serves, my first encounter with the concept of a highwayman came circa 1952 thanks to the weekly Sun comic book. One of its regular characters was Dick Turpin, a highwayman who embarked on a series of adventures with his female sidekick Moll Moonlight. In addition to robbing the rich to help the poor,…