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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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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 http://vancouverisawesome.com/2012/11/28/read-all-over-rhea-tregebov/

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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.

 http://liliannattel.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/the-knife-sharpeners-bell/

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

Globe Books Special

Jim Bartley’s top 5

THE KNIFE SHARPENER’S BELL
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

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/jim-bartleys-top-5/article1814783/

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