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Love and Loss and Love

phyllis.jpg This week on Soundxchange, we blend the healing sounds of sweet songstress (or chanteuse) Alexis Normand with an extraordinary set of poems observing the journey between wife and widow....a journey both enormous and yet over in a second...as examined in poet Phyllis Nakonechny's new book, Vidh 

Eric Eggertson, photo

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Alexis Normand is a young Fransaskois singer-songwriter who makes her home in Saskatoon. After graduating with a music degree from the University of Ottawa, Alexis spent a year at the École nationale de la chanson, a prestigious songwriting school located in Granby, Québec. She has won several awards and prizes for her writing and performing, including Radio-Canada's Muziklip contest. Alexis sings, plays and writes with simplicity, warmth and charm.

This concert took place at the intimate Refinery Arts and Spirits Centre in Saskatoon and was supported by 'On the Boards'.

Hear the whole concert on CBC Radio 2's Concerts on Demand.


cover50.jpgIn Vidh: A Book of Mourning, from which today's poems come,  Phyllis Nakonechny hopes "to break through the unspoken code of secrecy that surrounds the experience of loss". The book contains a collection of "small moments in time that occur over a period of four years. Each is a concise representation of a brief instance occurring in the larger panorama of grief."

Vidh: A Book of Mourning is a story of the loss of love and of learning to live without a partner. The experienced outlined in this journey into widowhood, will help others to find what they need and struggle to find in their journey into grief.

Says Lorna Crozier (and she should know) "How beautiful, how beautiful and heartbreaking! Though written in prose, this book speaks in the primal language of poetry. There is no self-pity here, no sentimentality, just a clear-eyed look at what it means to lose a beloved husband. I wept, and at the same time, I felt blessed. No one else has written about this kind of loss with such delicacy and toughness."

Phyllis Nakonechny grew up in a small prairie town in Saskatchewan. The child of educators, she developed a love for literature at an early age.  She spent thirty years as a high school English teacher and a teacher of creative writing.  Since the death of her husband from cancer in 2003, she has had to reinvent herself, but her love for language continues to shape her life. In 2008, she was awarded a CBC Literary Award in the creative nonfiction category for her meditation on the subject of grief, published in "enRoute" magazine under the title "Vidh". She is currently retired and resides in Swift Current.