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Patrick Friesen fonds. - [1976]-1998. - 5 m of textual record and other material.

Biographical Sketch

Poet, playwright, filmmaker and producer, Patrick Friesen was born in Steinbach, Manitoba in 1946. He began writing stories at an early age and studied English literature at the University of Manitoba (B.A., Honours) where he was inspired by Professor Victor Cowie. His first book of poetry, The Lands I Am (1976) was followed by nine more books: Bluebottle (1978), The Shunning (1980), Unearthly Horses (1984), Flicker and Hawk (1987), You Don't Get to be a Saint (1992), Blasphemer's Wheel: Selected and New Poems (1994), A Broken Bowl (1997), St. Mary at Main (1998) and Carrying the Shadow (1999). Friesen collaborated with Per Brask in several translations from the Danish, God's Blue Morris: A Selection of Poems by Neils Hav (1993), a translation of Klaus Hoeck's The Woods; and an anthology project of Danish poets. While known primarily as a poet, Friesen has demonstrated versatility both in his artistic vision and in his use of diverse media. His play The Shunning was staged by Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg in 1985, and then adapted for radio in 1990. He has written plays and radio dramas, as well as, written, produced and directed, films and videos. He has collaborated with musicians including songwriter Cate Friesen and jazz pianist Marilyn Lerner. He collaborated on several dance-poetry works, including Anna (1987) with choreographer Stephanie Ballard and dancer Margie Gillis, Handful of Rain (1991) with Ruth Cansfield and Gaile Petursson-Hiley, and Noah (1987) a multi-disciplinary work.

Friesen has been a major force and presence in the literary world of Winnipeg, Manitoba (where he lived for 30 years) and in the rest of Canada. He was founding President of the Manitoba Writers' Guild (1981) and served on the executive of the League of Canadian Poets. As a poet of Mennonite background, Friesen's explorations and concerns ally him with Di Brandt, Rudy Wiebe and Sandra Birdsell, among others. His collaborative work with dancers, artists and filmmakers has brought Friesen much acclaim. His plays, in particular The Raft, have earned him national recognition as a playwright. Currently, Patrick Friesen resides in Vancouver where he teaches writing at Kwantlen University College.

Scope and Content

The Patrick Friesen fonds documents his life as a writer, as well as, his professional activities wth CVII and the Manitoba Writers' Guild. It includes correspondence with publishers (such as Turnstone Press) and other writers such as Victor Enns, Gary Geddes and Michael Ondaatje. The material also includes manuscripts, typescripts and drafts of poetry and drama; audio and visual documentation of collaborative work, interviews and productions; and memorabilia. The material demonstrates his multi-faceted career as a poet, playwright, arts organizer, editor and teacher, and his exciting and varied collaborations.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from Patrick Friesen in 1992 and 1998. [1992-21, 1998-04]

Language: material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: some correspondence restricted.

Finding Aid: finding aids available for both accessions.

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