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Sharon Berg

Photo: Tom Gannon Hamilton 2018

Sharon Berg had a two-book-month in September 2019. First, she released her debut collection of short fiction called Naming the Shadows coming with Porcupines Quill. Next, she released a cross-genre history called The Name Unspoken: Wandering Spirit Survival School with Big Pond Rumours Press.

Sharon is an author of poetry, story, book reviews, and nonfiction focused on the history and education of First Nations. She published poems in periodicals across Canada as well as in the USA, Mexico, Australia, the UK, and The Netherlands.

She released two full books of poetry, To a Young Horse (Borealis Press, 1979) and The Body Labyrinth (Coach House Press, 1984). These were followed by three chapbooks from Big Pond Rumours Press in 2006, 2016, and 2017. She has also published short stories in various periodicals in Canada and the USA. Her fiction is also included in the Anthology Suspicious Activities from Devils Party Press (USA).

Sharon has two grown daughters who are making their own families. As of August 2016, she lives in Sarnia, Ontario. She worked as an elementary school teacher for a time and has now returned to her love of writing. 

You can find examples of Sharon's work by clicking on the links below to see two video poems she's created.

2009. Personal Myths. video and poem created by Sharon Berg (posted on YouTube) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZkEU7M3ABk

2009. Oracle: Lucid Dreaming. video and poem created by Sharon Berg (posted on YouTube) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZkEU7M3ABk

Check out her website: https://www.sharonbergauthor.com

Big Pond Rumours, the online magazine, has been retired but Sharon continues to offer books and chapbooks through Big Pond Ruours Press.

 

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada

Publications

Chapter 15, The Name Unspoken: Wandering Spirit Survival School, in Alternative Schooling and Student Engagement. Palgrave. New York, NY, USA., 2017
Odyssey and Other Poems. Big Pond Rumours Press. Sarnia, Ontario., 2017
The Great Hoop Dance. Big Pond Rumours Press. Sarnia, Ontario, 2016
Personal Myths. video poem. (posted on YouTube) . Sharon Berg on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZkEU7M3ABk, 2009
Oracle: Lucid Dreaming. video poem. . Sharon Berg on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nl0k6ponWHc, 2009
Black Moths. (poetry chapbook) . Big Pond Rumours Press. Sarnia, Ontario., 2006
Black Moths. (audio tape/ performance poetry). Public Energies Inc. Ottawa, Ontario., 1986
Tape 5. (audio tape/ performance poetry). Gallery 101 Productions. Ottawa, Ontario., 1985
Pineapple Cheese. (poems and songs for children). One Finger Press. Toronto, Ontario., 1984
The Body Labyrinth. (poetry). Coach House Press. Toronto, Ontario, 1984
To A Young Horse. (poetry). Borealis Press. Ottawa, Ontario., 1979
Naming the Shadows. Porcupine's Quill, 2019
The Name Unspoken. Big Pond Rumours Press, 2019

Awards

2nd Place for Poetry in the GritLit Poetry Competition, 2015
Leighton Artists Colony. The Banff Center. (full scholarship), 1986
Advanced Writing Studio, Banff School of Fine Arts (full Scholarship), 1982
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :
Yes

WITS

Presentation Description

FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION: I have written an authorized narrative history of Wandering Spirit Survival School (WSSS), working very closely with my co-author, Cree Elder Pauline Shirt. I also have a chapter on WSSS in ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLING AND STUDENT ENGAGEMENT: Canadian Stories of Democracy within Bureaucracy (Palgrave, NY, 2017).

I will offer 80 minute sessions (up to 60 students) in classrooms or join in an auditorium presentation with others.

Beginning with the personal story of Wandering Spirit, the War Chief of Big Bear's band and the person that Pauline Shirt named her school for, I will speak to Junior, Intermediate, and High School students about:   a) the general history of First Nations education in Canada and the impetus for founding a Native Way school in Canada,   b) the struggle of various nations for recognition of First Nations human rights by the provincial and federal governments, including the discriminatory and punishing clauses that still exist in the Indian Act,   and c) The Native Peoples' Caravan to Ottawa in 1974, which resulted in a so-called 'riot' and led First Nations to rise up with programmes of their own under the idea of Indian Rights to Indian Education so students could be educated to their own heritage

POETRY: I will visit age groupings (Primary, Junior, Intermediate, High School) in individual classrooms for 80 minutes (double period) or an auditorium presentation. 

Grades 1-3: 80 minutes (double period)
Who I am (5 minutes) and Presentation (10 minutes) of my own unpublished children’s book/mock-up for In the Beginning There was You. This will be followed by a Workshop (45 minutes) where groups of 4 or 5 students brainstorm together and write -- alternating with different coloured markers -- their own poem and drawings together on chart paper. The class teacher and I will circulate in the classroom to assist students in their work as necessary. Finally, Students Present Their Poem (& Illustrations?) (20 minutes) with assistance as needed. Follow-Up is that these chart paper posters can be shared in depth with their class and homeroom teacher.
Grades 4-6: 80 minutes
Who I am (5 minutes) and Presentation (10 minutes) of my own chapbook Pineapple Cheese. This will be followed by a Workshop (45 minutes) where groups of 4 or 5 students brainstorm to help each other write their own poem for a small collection, seeking advice from each other as needed. The class teacher and I will circulate in the classroom to assist students in their work as necessary. The goal is to create a small book together on 8 x 11 size paper. Student groups briefly Present Their Poetry Book (20 minutes) with encouragement as necessary. Follow-Up is to create a cover for their book and staple it together so it can be shared in depth with their class and homeroom teacher.
Grades 7-12: 80 minutes
Who I am (5 minutes) and Presentation (15 minutes) of several poems of my own to present both form (e.g., sonnet) and free verse.  Workshop (40 minutes) working individually or in partners, students decide on a form or free verse approach and create their own poems. The goal is to write a class book, so each student should write on 8 x 11 paper. They can choose their own themes or using a ‘big idea’ specified by the classroom teacher (e.g., How I feel about climate change). That big idea can be related to their studies in science, geography, history or whatever seems appropriate. The idea is to communicate both their ideas and their feelings related to the theme or big idea. The class teacher and I will circulate in the classroom to assist students in their work as necessary. Students will then volunteer to Present Their Poem (20 minutes). Follow-Up is to type and print out their poem on the computer, ready to be collected in a class book. The teacher can hold a contest, with every student offering a vote for the design of the book cover.

Presentation Length:
negotiable: 1 double period of 80 minutes (1 session) up to 4 sessions in a day
Genre:
Poetry, First Nations Education (History)
Grades:
grade 2 -12
Audience size:
one classroom (up to two classes) or an auditorium
Workshop Description:


Northern OAC WITS:
Yes
One session:
$$200
Two sessions:
$$350
Three sessions:
$$500
Four sessions:
$$650
GST:
GST not applicable