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Robert Kroetsch dead at 83

The Edmonton Journal is reporting that Robert Kroetsch has died. The distinguished Alberta author, who won the Governor General’s Literary Award for the novel The Studhorse Man (1969), was returning from a literary festival in Canmore, Alberta, on Tuesday night when he died in a highway accident. He was 83.

From the Edmonton Journal:

Kroetsch was returning to his home in Leduc from the Artspeak Festival in Canmore Tuesday when the two-car collision occurred near Drumheller on Highway 21. Three other people were hospitalized, according to Cathie Crooks, marketing manager for University of Alberta Press, Kroetsch’s publisher.

Kroetsch was recently recognized with a lieutenant-governor’s Alberta Distinguished Artist award and, just two weeks ago, with a Golden Pen Award from the Writers’ Guild of Alberta.

  • theresa k.

    This is very sad news. What a writer, what a legacy…

  • Cheri H.

    Deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues. Sad news indeed.

  • Jim Westergard

    I was shocked to hear that Robert had been killed in an automobile accident. I had been commissioned to illustrate the Red Deer Press edition of “Seed Catalogue” by the late Dennis Johnson. I traveled to the Heisler area to get a feel for the location of the poem and was able to locate his former house and farm following the descriptions in the poem. While working on the wood engravings I communicated with Robert regularly by sending him sketches as I prepared for each wood engraving. I grew to admire and respect him and appreciated his guidance on this project and especially his elegant and visual use of the language.

  • Robert Hayes

    To my mentor:
    Ode to Robert Kroetsch

    A stag pretends to chew at the grass on the side of a busy road,

    But his eye under lash feverishly scans what is real;

    The bush is his back up until a young deer timidly approaches,

    Emptiness is the physics of separate entities;

    Cars and trucks are symbolic of streamers, demons flashing teeth;

    A doe dances up on the grass, she nudges him, and his noble head

    Transforms into a majestic mountain that is just ahead:

    Roadside rallies are not for the timid, but instinct moves the family,

    Much more to be done when birds flock in certain ways:

    Brown winged spirals mass along the grassy edge;

    A warning to nature that the earth will stop for awhile,

    Grace and beauty step off, and the deer step back into the bush.

  • Marie Powell

    Robert Kroetsch taught novel writing at the Sage Hill Writing Experience several times, and I was lucky to be a participant while he was teaching there. Although I was not in his course, I found myself gravitating to his table at meals and after-hours for his comments about mythologies, writing, and life in general. I loved his books, but I was impressed by his generosity of mind and willingness to mentor anyone who cared to listen. He will be greatly missed by the writing community.

  • elizabeth herbert

    I am so terribly sad to hear that Robert Kroetsch has died. His generous correspondence with me over the past few years was crucial to the writing of my book, The Art of John Snow. He was a brilliant, gentle and stupendously inspiring soul. I am so grateful for his kind interest in my project, and for that marvellous recent conversation about Japanese poetry, the new social media, Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, and ravioli stuffed with lobster and cream. You are in my heart.

    Elizabeth Herbert, Calgary

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