Archive by Author

Review of The Best Canadian Poetry in English in 2012

To read the full review, go to 

The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012
Edited by Carmine Starnino
Series Editor Molly Peacock
Tightrope Books

Reviewed by Lori A. May


“The New House” by Rhea Tregebov calls upon the complexity of remembering the past, while not letting the past keep hold of us. In what flows like a love poem to a former life, a woman reminisces about the time spent in an old house. In an apostrophe to her child, she refers to this sacred space as “the one where we both grew up,” paying tribute to the sudden maturity that comes with parenthood. The poem is melancholic, though, as the speaker traces history through packed boxes and as she packs “childhood into two plastic bins.” The child is now an adult with a separate life, a life complete without the parent. The poem traces the joy of familial relationships and how these are so often tethered to a concrete place, a home, and how memories of these follow us, no matter the moves that come later in life. [...]


Lori A. May is the author of four books. Her work has appeared in publications such as Rattle, Two Review, and The Writer. Please see her website for more details.

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Kingston WritersFest Event # 49 Poetry to Prose & Back Again

Sunday, September 29, 2013 /

1:00–2:30 pm /

Bellevue South

49. Poetry to Prose & Back Again

Michael Crummey & Anne Michaels Readings & Conversation Michael Crummey and Anne Michaels began as poets, wrote award-winning novels, and now return to poetry with their first collections in more than decade. Michael’s Under the Keel is filled with poems about youth, love, loss, wonder, and all that ties us together as humans. Anne’s Correspondences is a book-length poem about language and history, printed on one side of a unique accordion book, with facing portraits by artist Bernice Eisenstein. Discover how the poetic muse keeps luring these writers back.

Moderated by Rhea Tregebov.

General admission: $13.50/$17.00 onsite -

See more at:

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Kingston WritersFest Event #43 Saturday Night Speakeasy

Saturday, September 28, 2013

/ 9:00–11:00 pm /


Saturday Night SpeakEasy

Shelagh Rogers & Friends Performance

Join us for a night of stories and poems set within the original musical landscape of our house band, the jazz combo Trio Without Words, led by local saxophone virtuoso Jonathan Stewart. Literary performances by Michael Crummey, Lauren B. Davis, Sadiqa de Meijer, Lewis DeSoto, Wayne Grady, Andrew Kaufman, Steven Price, Iain Reid, Ania Szado, and Rhea Tregebov. Hosted by CBC’s favourite literary maven, Shelagh Rogers. Cash bar.

Doors open at 8:30 pm.

General admission: $25.00/$30.00 onsite -

See more at:

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Kingston WritersFest event #33. Writing the Counterfactual

Sunday, November 30, 2013 12:00 to 2:00

Rhea Tregebov Writers Studio

How do we separate the facts from the truth of our writing, and how do the facts, as well as alternatives to the facts, interact with what we have to say? Rhea Tregebov shows how departing from our own history, or world events, can generate writing and foster imagination. Whether in poetry with autobiographical sources or speculative fiction with invented worlds, the path not taken – or not there at all – can be a vital source of creativity.

General admission: $30.00/$35.00 onsite – S

ee more at:

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Poets in Profile: Rhea Tregebov Open Book Toronto


Submitted by Grace on February 12, 2013 – 12:49pm

February 8 Performance John K Sampson, Christine Fellows, Rhea Tregebov & Steven Galloway

January 22, 2013 Media contact: Laurie Townsend (604) 822-9161

View pdf version

Singer-songwriters Christine Fellows and John K. Samson (of The Weakerthans) perform at UBC February 8, at 8:00 pm
Vancouver, BC ~ The UBC School of Music, in partnership with the UBC Creative Writing Program, present Winnipeg singer-songwriters Christine Fellows and John K. Samson in performance at UBC in the Roy Barnett Recital Hall on February 8, 2013. Christine Fellows and John K. Samson will be joined by poet Rhea Tregebov and novelist Steven Galloway, both UBC faculty members.  Works by all four creators will be featured in the concert. Fellows and Samson, Writers-in-residence at the UBC Creative Writing Program for 2012/13, will also participate in a roundtable discussion titled Music, Place, People: Popular Music and the Collaborative Act. The roundtable will take place on Friday February 8 at 3:15 pm in Gessler Hall (Room 116) in the Music Building at UBC.
For further details, click here.

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Toronto Launch of All Souls’

A Reading with Rhea Tregebov Aisha Sasha John and Shannon Bramer Thumbnail

A Reading with Rhea Tregebov Aisha Sasha John and Shannon Bramer

 Toronto New School of Writing Presents: A Reading with Rhea Tregebov, Aisha Sasha John and Shannon Bramer.

Toronto New School of Writing is pleased to host a reading by Vancouver poet Rhea Trebegov in conjunction with her Counterfactual Workshop. This will be Rhea’s first Toronto reading from her new book, All Souls’ , published by Signal Editions. Joining Rhea for the  evening are Toronto poets Aisha Sasha John and Shannon Bramer, who will read from their work.

When: 20 February 2013, 6:30-8:30 (readings will start at 7 sharp) Where: Supermarket 268 Augusta, in the back room

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The New School of Writing Toronto Workshop February 19, 2013

The Counterfactual: A Workshop with Rhea Tregebov

 19 February 2013, 6-8:30pm

Location: 401 Richmond Street West, Studio 408

The counterfactual – what didn’t happen, the path not taken or the path not there – can be a fundamental source of creativity. This workshop will examine how departures from our own, or world, history generate writing. What is the mindset that fosters imagination? Whether we are writing poetry with autobiographical sources, or speculative fiction that builds invented worlds, one of the more alarming aspects of writing is the pressure to “make something up.” Iconoclastic micro-fiction writer Etgar Keret has said that he is interested in writing stories that are fundamentally true, not factually true. How do we separate the facts from the truth of our writing, and how do the facts, as well as alternatives to the facts, interact with what we have to say?

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Winnipeg Free Press Review of All Souls’

Born in Saskatoon and raised in Winnipeg, Vancouver-based Rhea Tregebov begins her seventh collection, All Souls’ (Signal, 78 pages, $18) with a poem in which “You thought all the poems had grown up / and left home. You didn’t expect to find one / putting its little hands on your face.” A fine, fitting metaphor for the moment of poetic inspiration, which is notoriously difficult to place into words.
To read the complete review, go to Winnipeg Free Press or here.

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Quill & Quire Review of All Souls’ by George Fetherling

Rhea Tregebov opens her seventh poetry collection by telling us about a visitation she had that unexpectedly put an end to a period of literary silence: “You thought all the poems had grown up / and left home. / You didn’t expect to find one / putting its little hand on your face.”

This is a book about cycles, such as the poet’s geographical progress from Winnipeg to Toronto, then from Toronto (“I’m such a sorry mess I’ll miss it”) to the West Coast, where she teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Most of all, it centres on the cyclical experiences of families, of watching children becoming adults and adults eventually dying (or in her father’s case, getting lost in dementia): “My father can’t draw the hands of the clock, / can’t draw its face. In his own hand, the pencil / falters, rests.” “Family Dinners,” the last of three poem sequences, is the heart of the book, uniting Tregebov’s themes of childhood, maternity, and decay with gardening, dining, and impermanence.

To read the full review, go to Quill & Quire or here.

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The Toronto Quarterly Interview with Rhea Tregebov on All Souls’

TTQ – What inspired you to start writing poetry?
Rhea Tregebov – I was sick a lot as a kid, stayed home from school living in my imagination, very immersed in reading. So that living in my head was what got me started as a writer. Why it was poetry that drew me is a little more obscure, but I think it was in part a distrust of the causality (this happened because of that) that plot implied and in part a strong sense of the value of what went on in my, and by extension, others’, heads – that interior life. 

TTQ – How difficult is it for you to write a great poem?
Rhea Tregebov – Very rarely does the writing come easily. There are a few poems that have come just as gifts, but mostly it’s a question of revision after revision and a lot of sweat in working through to get it right. It feels like I often start with an amorphous block of marble and then have to write my way through, chipping away to the shape of the poem inside. In terms of figuring out what is my best work, that’s pretty hard too, but luckily I have some very adept fellow writers who help me out with that evaluation.


To read the complete article, go to

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Vancouver is Awesome feature on Reading

Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.
Rhea Tregebov is a poet, novelist and children’s writer. Born in Saskatoon and raised in Winnipeg, she spent many years in Toronto and then was lured to Vancouver eight years ago by a job in the Creative Writing Program at UBC. Her seventh collection of poetry, All Souls’,was released by Signal Editions/Véhicule Press (Montreal) in September, 2012. 

Her historical novel, The Knife-Sharpener’s Bell (Coteau Books), follows a Winnipeg family who make a reverse migration back to the Soviet Union in the 1930s. She’ll be at the Jewish Book Festival on Thursday November 29, at the Vancouver JCC.

What are you currently reading? Your thoughts on it?

I’ve just finished Linda Svendsen’s Sussex Drive, a wickedly funny Ottawa satire with a very frightening, too-close-for-comfort political message. And I’ve started Annabel Lyon’s The Sweet Girl, which features Aristotle’s daughter Pythias, and is a sequel to The Golden Mean, Lyon’s book about the philosopher. I find the way Lyon is able to enter the human mind of Classical times uncanny, unsettling, and fascinating. Since I can never read just one thing at a time, I’ve also started Rachel Rose’s new book of poetry, Song & Spectacle. I’m a long-time fan of Rose’s work, and admire as much the wisdom of how she sees the world as the technique that makes her such a skilled writer.


To read the whole feature, go to

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Maisonneuve review of All Souls’

All Souls’ (Signal Editions), Rhea Tregebov‘s seventh collection of poetry, unwraps the banal, beautiful experiences of a uniquely Canadian life. The lines are delicate but visceral: ‘Soon / it will rain, soon wind will spread / the prairie dust, moths will give up / their lives against the glass,’ Tregebov writes in ‘House Work.’ Tregebov’s poems are thoughtful and confident, but never overreach. Her use of language is effortless, allowing the book to contemplate—sometimes quietly, sometimes more forcefully—the way in which small moments speak to a larger human consciousness.” Taylor Tower, Maisonneuve, Issue 45.

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Poem for All Souls’ Day

The title poem of Rhea Tregebov’s new book on this dark day…

All Souls’ Day



Some moon – full, and fall.

So close it grazes the houses.

The clocks gone back now – six

and it’s near dark. That moon

bright, though, and this city. Cars,

their lights, wash by on pavement

made for them. This sidewalk,

its dates marked in concrete

(1977, 1992), made for me.

By someone. That someone

a soul now perhaps, body

done, in earth. Winter soon.


© Rhea Tregebov

from All Souls’, Signal Editions, Véhicule Press, September 2012

ISBN: 978-155065-338-0

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Vancouver Jewish Book Fair Panel From Poetry to Prose



Thursday Nov 29 @ 6:30pm

MEET THE AUTHORS From Poetry to Prose and Back

Rhea Tregebov / All Souls’

Susan Glickman / Smooth Yarrow            

 Isa Millman / Something Small to Carry Home

Tickets: $14.00  BUY TICKETS ONLINE >>             or call 604-257-5111

Susan Glickman’s sixth collection of poetry, The Smooth Yarrow, just came out in May. According to Quill and Quire, “Glickman’s writing is defiant: like yarrow, it is lean and strong, not only beautiful, but possessed of myriad healing properties.” She is also the author of two novels for adults, The Violin Lover, which won the 2006 Canadian Jewish Fiction Award, and The Tale-Teller, which just came out this autumn, the “Lunch Bunch” series of children’s books, and a prize-winning work of literary criticism, The Picturesque & The Sublime: A Poetics of the Canadian Landscape.”

Isa Milman is a poet and visual artist who lives in Victoria, BC. Born a displaced person in Germany in 1949, she grew up in the United States and came to Canada in 1975. She’s a graduate of Tufts University, and holds a Masters of Rehabilitation Science from McGill, where she taught for a decade. She is the author of Between the Doorposts (Ekstasis Editions, 2004) and Prairie Kaddish (Coteau Books, 2008), both of which won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for poetry. Her latest collection, Something Small to Carry Home, was published by Quattro Books in April 2012.

Bluesy, opinionated, sly, self-chastising and tender, Rhea Tregebov’s All Souls’—her first collection since 2004—commands a range of tones wider and bolder than anything in her previous six books of poetry. Inspired by crises both personal (divorce, adult children, aging parents) and societal (global warming, financial implosion),All Souls’ bracingly addresses the quandary at the heart of our present moment: the fear of change and the fear of standing still. Enriched by a sharp palate and crackling with confidence, Tregebov’s new poems capture life in all its rueful aspects, and do so with a lyricism of considerable beauty and power.

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Green College UBC Principal’s Series:

Reading from Rhea Tregebov’s 7th Collection of Poetry, All Souls’

Rhea Tregebov, Creative Writing Program, UBC
Coach House, Green College, UBC
November 13 5:00 pm -  6:30 pm

Bluesy, opinionated, sly, self-chastising and tender, UBC Creative Writing professor Rhea Tregebov’s All Souls’—her first  collection since 2004—commands a range of tones wider and bolder than anything in her previous six books. All Souls’ bracingly addresses the quandary at the heart of our present moment: the fear of change and the fear of standing still. Enriched by a sharp palate and crackling with confidence, Tregebov’s new poems capture life in all its rueful aspects, and do so with a lyricism of considerable beauty and power.

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Rhea Tregebov at the Thin Air Festival of Writing, Winnipeg

MAINSTAGE: VOICES FROM OODENA/VOIX D’OODENA September 23, 2012 { 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm}

Oodena, the natural amphitheatre at The Forks, has been a gathering place for centuries. THIN AIR celebrates that history with a collage of commissioned work from writers who have made a mark on the local scene. Gather on the stairs for a magical evening of words in many flavours. Bring a jacket—the air is cool as the sun sets.
Admission is free. Books for sale on-site. Inclement weather: Centre Court, The Forks Market

  • Oodena, The Forks
  • Oodena Celebration Circle, behind the Johnston Terminal at The Forks

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More on Manitoba Reads long list for The Knife Sharpener’s Bell

Manitoba Reads Longlist: The Knife Sharpener’s Bell has been long-listed for Manitoba Reads. The Winnipeg International Writers Festival, THIN AIR, has teamed up with CBC Manitoba SCENE and McNally Robinson Booksellers for the second annual Manitoba Reads, a made-in-Manitoba book celebration in the spirit of Canada Reads, Canada’s biggest battle of the books. . …  A panel of experts has selected 12 great Manitoba titles and The Knife Sharpener’s Bell has made the list! Readers anywhere in Canada or the world can  vote on their favourite to help decide what is the best Manitoba book for summer reading. Voters have from now until August 12, 2012 to choose four favourites, and those four final titles that receive the most votes will be pitched by a panel of literary pros and keen advocates in front of a live audience on Friday, September 21 2012 at the Centre culturel francais as the kick -off to THIN AIR 2012. After that debate, on-line voting will open again, with the winning title and a portion of the live debate being aired on CBC’s Weekend Morning Show on Sunday, September 23, 2012. The initial audience poll, which runs from July 24 through August 12, has a great prize pack—$150 in gift cards from McNally Robinson, a couple of THIN AIR Festival Passes, and some cool CBC merch. To be eligible to win, visitors simply leave a comment after they vote. People can vote every day, and each vote comment enters the draw. Please pass the word along to your  friends via email, social media, etc. The more votes, the better!

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The Knife Sharpener’s Bell on Manitoba Reads long list

Manitoba Reads long list: 12 books for summer reading

Tuesday July 24, 2012

In the spirit of Canada Reads, Canada’s biggest battle of the books, CBC Manitoba is proud to present Manitoba Reads, in partnership with McNally Robinson Booksellers and the Winnipeg International Writers  Festival.
Our panel of experts has selected these 12 books – including some  familiar favourites and a couple local gems waiting to be discovered -  to vote on, to help decide what is the best Manitoba book for your summer reading pleasure.


The Knife Sharpener’s Bell, by Rhea Tregebov

Rhea Tregebov - The Knife Sharpener's Bell 100.jpg

Ten-year old Annette Gershon is content enough growing up in her father’s delicatessen in Winnipeg’s Jewish North End, but for immigrant families scratching out a living in the Dirty Thirties, even subsistence is a delicate balance. Everything changes when her parents decide to take the family “home” to the Soviet Union to escape the devastation of the collapsing capitalist economy. The Knife Sharpener’s Bell is the seldom-told story of a doomed return, and a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit.
Rhea Tregebov is an award-winning poet and picture book author who has proven just as adept at writing fiction. Rhea grew up in Winnipeg, wrote and taught in Toronto for several years, and now lives in Vancouver where she teaches creative writing at UBC.

To read the rest of the article, go to



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Recordings of Yiddish Stories and Poems by Women Writers

Readings by members of the Winnipeg Yiddish Women’s Reading Circle (recorded in 2011).

 The Winnipeg Yiddish Women’s Reading Circle meets monthly in order to read, hear, and discuss stories and poems by female Yiddish authors that would otherwise be forgotten. By rescuing the stories of these writers, the participants in the Reading Circle are also able to enjoy listening and speaking their mameloshn, or mother-tongue. 

Yiddish was the language of Central and Eastern European Jewry and was brought to Winnipeg by Jewish immigrants. Many of the women in the Reading Circle are the children of immigrants and thus grew up in Yiddish-speaking homes. Some of them were students at the I. L. Peretz Folk Shul, a Winnipeg Yiddish-language school that was the first full-time Jewish day school in North America. Other members immigrated to Winnipeg from Europe after the Holocaust. 

The Winnipeg Reading Circle has been remarkably active since its inception in 2001. In 2007 the group published an anthology of English translations of their favourite stories, Arguing with the Storm: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers, edited by Rhea Tregebov (Toronto: Sumach Press; New York: The Feminist Press). The Reading Circle was also recognized by the UNESCO and was included in its Register of Good Practices in Language Preservation.

Yiddish is no longer spoken or understood by the majority of Ashkenazi Jews (Jews of Central and East European origin). The women of the Winnipeg Reading Circle belong to an increasingly small group of Winnipeggers fluent in the language. The stories and poems presented here have been translated into English, but the women who read these stories for you hope that by listening to the original Yiddish, even those who do not understand the language will get an impression of  the humour, linguistic musicality, and emotional depth in the Yiddish language and Yiddish literature. 

To access the website, click here.

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The Short List and Winner of the Kobzar: Photo

Minister Sousa with prize administrators and nominees

Winner Shandi Mitchel centre (in blue skirt) beside founding member Joy Kogawa (left) and Myrna Kostash and Rhea Tregebov (right)

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Bio formatted on Tatiana de Rosnay’s

Having just seen the film version of Sara’s Key, which alternately moved and frustrated me, I looked up the biography of the novel’s author, Tatiana de Rosnay and must confess I found a wee bit of hubris in the expansive coverage of her lineage. To that end, I have modelled my own biographical note based on her format… RT

Rhea Tregebov was born on August 15, 1953 in the suburbs of Saskatoon. She is of Russian Jewish  descent.  Her father was Canadian civil engineer Sam Block,  her grandfather was wrecking and salvage company owner James Block. Rhea doesn’t know the name of her paternal great-grandmother but she wishes she did.  Rhea’s mother is Canadian, Jeanette Block, daughter of delicatessen owner Aaron Grosney, and  great-great-granddaughter of someone who was probably a very interesting person. Rhea is also the niece of moving company owner Hymie Block.  Rhea was raised in Winnipeg, where her father designed irrigation ditches and brought in indoor plumbing to rural Manitoba communities while working for the provincial government. He was always home by 5:30.

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Lilian Nattel on The Knife Sharpener’s Bell

The Knife Sharpener’s Bell 18 Jan 2011 5 Comments

by Lilian Nattel in Literary Tags: Rhea Tregebov, The Knife Sharpener’s Bell

The Knife Sharpener’s Bell is a novel about a Canadian family, originally from Russia, which returns to the Soviet Union – yes returns. This happened more times than people realize, when the depression was hitting hard. Communism was so respected that in 1932 Will Durant, a writer and journalist, could not get an article about the Ukrainian famine published in Harper’s or The Atlantic, because those eminent publications worried about alienating readers.

Now here I have to pause to tell you about the author of this novel, Rhea Tregebov, whose family history includes a story of returnees to the Soviet Union. Rhea is a friend of mine, an accomplished poet and writer of children’s stories. My kids still sometimes mention them. Rhea is also a creative writing prof out at the University of British Columbia.

I hope that her students appreciate her. Rhea has the unique gift of being able to criticise writing while making it sound like praise. I don’t mean that she deals in flattery or half-truths or lies, but that she has a way of putting criticism that is energizing, making one want to roll up the sleeves and get to work. Her criticism magically engages confidence in what has already been done and what can be done with that work. I don’t know how she does it.

Rhea was my mentor in a program for first novels at The Writers’ Union of Canada when I was writing The River Midnight. It was my first novel, and her feedback helped me to bring it up more than a notch. A few years later, somewhere around the third draft of The Singing Fire, I was thinking that I should quit writing and get a job pushing paper. But Rhea’s special brand of encouragement mixed with criticism got me back onto the fourth draft, which involved cutting vast swaths of the novel and starting from scratch…better.

I think that Rhea, in her own unostentatious way, knows everybody who is anybody in Canadian literature. I’m not sure that I’m anybody, but she’s been a gift in my life, and I know in many others.

Her entire ouevre, and there are many wonderful books, can be seen at her website. Have a look and do more – buy.

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The Knife Sharpener’s Bell Globe & Mail Top 100 book for 2010

Globe Books Special

Jim Bartley’s top 5

By Rhea Tregebov (Coteau)

The imminence of disaster – sensing it will come, not knowing how – infuses this tale of a Winnipeg family resettling in ancestral Ukraine. From callow childhood to belated understanding, snapshot scenes slowly coalesce into the arc of decades. Tregebov’s sorrows are admirably unlyricized, her nostalgia tart rather than sweet. The emerging Holocaust lurks like a slumbering monster, determinedly denied until it begins to claim victims.

Globe and Mail, November 27, 2010

For more top books of 2010, to go

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2010 J. I. Segal Awards presented November 10 Montreal

The 41st J.I. Segal Awards Gala of the Jewish Public Library honoured the winners in eight categories on Jewish themes. These prestigious awards, presented every two years, are designed to encourage and reward creative works on Jewish themes and to perpetuate the memory of the great Canadian Yiddish poet J.I. Segal. The prizes were awarded at a public ceremony on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gelber Conference Centre in the Jewish Public Library, 1 Cummings Square (5151 Côte Ste-Catherine Road), Montreal. For information, call 514-345-2627 ext. 3017 or visit

This year 10 recipients were awarded in the following eight categories:

Prof. David E. Fishman and Boris Sandler for the Dr. Hirsch and Dora Rosenfeld Prize for Yiddish and Hebrew Literature;

Rhea Tregebov for the Shulamis Yelin Prize in English Fiction and Poetry Prize on a Jewish Theme;

Jeffrey Veidlinger for the Tauben Prize in English Non-Fiction on a Jewish Theme;

Maurice Chalom for the Prize in French Literature on a Jewish Theme;

Moshe Dor for the Barbara Kay Prize in Translation of a Book on a Jewish Theme;

Esther Trépanier and Allan Levine for the Prize in Canadian Jewish Studies;

Nira Friedman for the Yaacov Zipper Prize in Education;

Garry Beitel for the Michael Moskovitz Prize in Film on a Jewish Theme.

Rhea Tregebov’s debut novel The Knife Sharpener’s Bell has been selected the winner in the the category of Prize in English Fiction and Poetry on a Jewish Theme. of the prestigious   The last winner in 2008 was Leonard Cohen for The Book of Longing. Other past award winners include Irving Layton and Adele Wiseman.

Jury citation: “In reading, we adventured from the pale of Russia to the suburbs of Toronto to the fields of Saskatchewan—in both verse and prose. The decision was indeed difficult. Rhea Tregebov’s first novel The Knife Sharpener’s Bell stood out for the beauty of its prose, the ambition of its scope, and the strength of its story.  [Tregebov's] sensitivity to language and attentiveness to history are both evident in this riveting bildungsroman, which has already garnered other award nominations and considerable critical attention. We congratulate her on this debut novel, and we look forward to her future books.”

The J.I. Segal Awards of the Jewish Public Library are made possible by the J.I. Segal Cultural Foundation, founded by the late Dr. Hirsh Rosenfeld and Mrs. Dvora Rosenfeld. They were established in 1968 to honour and perpetuate the memory of  J.I. Segal, and to foster Jewish cultural creativity in Canada.

J.I. Segal (1896-1954) is acknowledged as one of the most respected Yiddish poets. His work is characterized by its deep lyrical expression and evocation of the dignity of Jewish life in the Eastern European shtetl and in Canada. Segal strove to show that “a people and its culture are inseparable.” His poetry lives on in Yiddish and in translation.

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The Knife Sharpener’s Bell November selection for TPL book club

The Knife Sharpener’s Bell is the November selection for the Toronto Public Library’s online book club, Book Buzz.

November 1 to 30, 2010

Book Buzz is a book club  for everyone interested in reading. Participants can join from  any connected computer in Toronto, or anywhere, at any time. On the first day of every month, the Book Buzz librarian launches a new book discussion in the online Discussion Forum. Rhea Tregebov will be joining the Dicussion Forum to answer questions posted by the readers throughout the month. Toronto participants can place a hold on the book  from the Book Buzz main page. To post comments about the book, readers need to register to become members. To participate in Rhea Tregebov’s author chat, readers go to the Discussion Forums, and choose the chat folder. For  more detailed directions on registration and joining the author chat, go to:

For details on The Knife Sharpener’s Bell, go to:

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G&M Review of Eve Joseph’s The Secret Signature of Things

The poems in The Secret Signature of Things are immersed in the rich landscape of British Columbia. In the first section of the book, Menagerie, Joseph takes on the voices of 10 resident creatures, some native to B.C., some domestic. By inhabiting this variety of creatures, Joseph extends the usual limits of the lyric, allowing the reader to imaginatively enter into the point of view of the subjects of her poems – crow, carp, swallow – whose voices she assumes. Joseph employs a lean, streamlined lyric, reliant on the clarity and integrity of her images.

To read full review, go to:

Reviewed by Rhea Tregebov

Globe and Mail Update Published on  Monday, Sep. 20, 2010 12:37PM EDT

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Knife Sharpener’s Bell Wins Segal Award

The Knife Sharpener’s Bell has been selected the winner of the prestigious J.I. Segal 2010 Awards in the the category of Prize in English Fiction and Poetry on a Jewish Theme. The prize is to be awarded at a public ceremony on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 in Montreal. The awards, presented every two years, are designed to encourage and reward creative works on Jewish themes. The last winner in 2008 was Leonard Cohen for The Book of Longing. Other past award winners include Irving Layton and Adele Wiseman.

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Ekphrasis Twelve at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Sunday, September 26th at 3 pm.

 Ekphrasis Twelve at the AGO

This project brings together twelve recognized poets, dancers and musicians taking inspiration from the permanent collections at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Ekphrasis, one form of art commenting on another, goes back to Ancient Greece and continues on as a vital form in our century. Artists of every stripe have long found inspiration in the artistic expression of their peers and forbears. At the AGO, you can have it all: artworks that inspire and a diverse collection of creative responses, works of art in their own right.

Join poets Rhea Tregebov, Alison Watt, Sue Chenette, Sue MacLeod, John Reibetanz, Jim Nason, Helen Humphreys, Joanne Page, Julie Salverson, dancers Julia Aplin and Hope Terry, and jazz cellist Kye Marshall for an afternoon of poetry, music and dance.

Walker Court at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Regular admission prices apply.

 Ekphrasis: a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another… and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness… For example, a painting may re-present a sculpture; a poem portray a picture; a sculpture depict a heroine of a novel; in fact, given the right circumstances, any art may describe any other art (Wikipedia).

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YouTube reading of Billy Collin’s “Litany”

Even more impressive, here’s the same three year old reciting all 30 lines of former US poet laureate Billy Collin’s “Litany”

Here’s the text of the poem:


You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine…
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine. 

© Billy Collins

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YouTube reading of Tennyson’s “The Eagle”

I know YouTube videos are suspect, but this three year old seems genuinely to love the poem:

Here’s Tennyson’s text:

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.


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G&M Review of Triny Finlay’s Histories Haunt Us

Triny Finlay’s second collection of poetry, Histories Haunt Us, intends to unpack past events in order to comprehend their impact on the present. Finlay’s method is delicate, elliptical. The book’s first section, New Astronomers, opens with a series of five poems examining loss in the context of the speaker’s fragile psychological state: “pills and group and pills and group and pills” (Abstract Loss, 4).

To read full review, go to:

Reviewed by Rhea Tregebov

Globe and Mail Update Published on Monday, Aug. 16, 2010 12:28PM EDT

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G&M Review of George Sipos’s fine The Glassblowers

The Daily Review, Wed., Aug. 4

‘Out beyond the window’

George Sipos

George Sipos

George Sipos’s new collection is technically brilliant and free of the romanticizing common to poetry about nature.

Review by Rhea Tregebov: To read complete article, go to:

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YouTube video Rhea Tregebov reading at La Muse

A glimpse of the amazing La Muse Writers’ Retreat. Rhea reading new poems, some written there. Two links: one (5 1/2 minutes) and the second one  (less than a minute). The baby cooing is John and Kerry’s daughter Gloria, one of  the muses of La Muse.

Part 1

Part 2

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La Muse Writers’ Retreat

Still recovering from the joy of my time in Languedoc, France. Check out La Muse, surely one of the world’s most astonishingly beautiful, and affordable, writers’ retreats.

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