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Tom Three Persons

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5.5 x 8.5 inches


Poet and scholar Yvonne Trainer enriches her complex and haunting portrait of Tom Three Persons, a Native Canadian and the first Calgary Stampede superhero, with a varied collage of images and writings and the personal viewpoint of a prairie ranch heritage.


Yvonne Trainer. Damn fine writin’. Yep, that about sums ‘er up.

~Janice Mathie-Heck, filling Station

In poems, photographs, letters and newspaper clippings, Trainer re-imagines a rodeo rider from the Blood Reserve who became champion at the first Calgary Stampede in 1912. Laconic and reflective, Trainer’s writing seems to rein in a lyricism that bursts through in poems like “The Mind Is The Place.”

~Harry Vandervlist, FFWD

The language is simple; the narrative uncluttered; the lines spare and clean in the way Bert Almon’s or Glen Sorestad’s lines are clean: this is prairie realism as it should be, born of the soil. The poetic is as true to its subject as the short grass prairie is to the soil. There is no straining after effects or self-conscious posturing or rhetoric. If you think it’s easy to do this, try it! I for one am happy Yvonne Trainer is back with a virtuoso performance.

~Richard Stevenson, The Danforth Review

Yvonne Trainer listens with a poet’s love to the sounds around her. She hears voices, finds poems, in Tom Three Persons’ story. She retells Persons’ world, tells her own world, with such tact and such care we are brought into a new hearing. We listen in on the invented real music of her poetry.

~Dennis Cooley

Yvonne Trainer’s deceptively simple documentary poem about Tom Three Persons engages both the history of a time and place and of a man we should know. In her collage of found material, invention, and photographs, Trainer brings this extraordinary man into language where he can tell his story as it needs to be told. As Tom tells us, “names float in air”, and the poet, listening, catches them and their embodiments for her readers.

~Douglas Barbour

Emotional and physical impressions emerge with bone-crunching reality through this unique collection of poems, letters and reminiscences. A lyrical-narrative portraying highs and lows in the life of Tom Three Persons, an unforgettable First Nations cowboy. Yahoo!

~Shirlee Smith Matheson

About the Author

Yvonne Trainer was born in 1959 and raised south of Manyberries, Alberta as an only child, 32 miles from the nearest neighbour. She has a BASc (English) from the University of Lethbridge, an MA (English/Creative Writing) from the University of New Brunswick and is currently completing a PhD from the University of Manitoba. Her PhD studies are primarily focused on Contemporary Canadian and American Poetry with a special area of interest in Canadian Literature and Medicine. Yvonne has published a chapbook and three books of poetry: Manyberries, Customers(Fiddlehead Books), Everything Happens at Once (Fiddlehead Books), and Landscape Turned Sideways: New and Selected (Goose Lane)

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