– Edmonton Journal


Reading poetry to workers at the Edmonton Waste Management plant as part of the first national annual Random Acts of Poetry.

Jannie Edwards

Although born in South Africa, Jannie Edwards is strongly rooted in Edmonton and the prairies. She has published three books of poetry: The Possibilities of Thirst (1997), Blood Opera: The Raven Tango Poems (2006), in collaboration with visual artist Paul Saturley, and Falling Blues (2010), a finalist for the Writers Guild of Alberta poetry prize. Her essay "All Night Mirror: Notes toward an Elegy" won the 2012 Writers Guild of Alberta award for creative non-fiction.


In addition to writing and publishing poetry, creative non-fiction and short fiction, Jannie Edwards also has considerable editing and workshop facilitation experience. She taught creative writing, composition and literature for over 25 years at MacEwan College, (now  University). She was the 2011-12 Canadian Authors Association Writer in Residence for Edmonton and Northern Alberta.


Jannie is drawn to artistic collaborations: Engrams: Reach and Seize Memory,  a videopoem inspired by the work of visual artist Darci Mallon, in which Jannie`s poetry is translated into American Sign Language and performed by Deaf artist Linda Cundy.  Her Blood Opera: The Raven Tango Poems was adapted for the stage by dramaturge Mark Henderson and performed in a variety of Edmonton arts festivals, with tango choreography by Kathy Ochoa. Jannie collaborated on a video-poetry installation, adrift,  with visual artist Agnieszka Matejko and videographer Bob Lysay. This work explores the paradox of the presence of absence of urban homeless. It was exhibited at the University of Alberta`s FAB gallery in InSight2: Engaging the Health Humanities, an international exhibition "at the nexus of design, the health humanities and community." She was part of an Edmonton arts and heritage project in her Edmonton Mill Woods community, which resulted in original artworks inspired by the oral histories of the community. Jannie is a founding member of the Mill Woods Artists Collective, a grassroots group committed to "Building Community through Art."  She continues to be active in the Edmonton arts community, most recently as a performer in the Skirts Afire festival, a celebration of women`s art.



• Arc Poem of the Year contest, 2003 (2nd): "Raven and the Birth of Tango" and "The Marriage Tango"

• Lapointe Prize, Acorn-Livesay People's Festival, 2000 (1 st): "An Old Woman Dreams of Sleep"

• League of Canadian Poets Poetry Contest, 1997 (three poems in top 50) "Watching The Piano," "Granny Wolf Finds Her Voice," and "Habits"

• Finalist and Editor's Choice - Arc Poem of the Year contest, 1996, 1998. "Holding Open" and "Water Ghazal"

• Isabelle Miller Writing Award,(2nd) 1995, sponsored by Celebration of Women in the Arts, Edmonton "Read the Air"

• Isabelle Miller Writing Award (1st) 1997. "What to do when you lose a daughter"


Selected Publications

• Dialogues (chapbook) (Greensleve Publishing, 1988)

• The Possibilities of Thirst (Rowan Books, 1997)

• Engrams (video combining painting, poetry, and American Sign Language)  • Produced and Directed by Jannie Edwards and Rick Gustavsen

• Blood Opera: The Raven Tango Poems (MacEwan Press, 2006)

• Falling Blues (forthcoming, Frontenac House Press, 2010)


Selected Anthologies

• Our Fathers: Poetry and Prose by Daughters and Sons from the Prairies (Rowan Books, 1995)

• Taking Off the Tinsel (Rowan Books, 1996)

• Vintage 97/98. (Quarry Press, 1998)

• Waging Peace :Poetry and Political Action (Penumbra Press, 2002)

• Letting Go: An Anthology of Loss and Survival (Black Moss Press, 2005)

• Jane Austen Sings the Blues (University of Alberta Press, 2009)

• Why I Sing the Blues (Smoking Lung Press, 2001)

• Line by Line: An Anthology of Candian Poetry (Ekstasis , 2002)





See the Wordpress blog for current and past collaborations among Jannie and other Alberta artists.





About this site:


The web site has been designed and assembled by Paul Saturley, a photographer and graphic artist currently living and working on Vancouver Island. An early adopter of digital technologies, Paul's work has been published in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.  He sometimes builds web sites for artists and small organizations. His  current work appears on tumblr and on his own web site: inkriver.com.