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New initiatives at the Artisan Gardens and PoetTree for 2023 


Six Sundays have been selected for a collaboration between Mary V and Victoria Zyluk, the Artist liaison at The Ranche. 


June 11, 25, July 9, 23 and Aug 6, 20 between 10:30am – 12:00pm (bring your own lunch) Listen to some poetry and see some of the artists at work as they sketch the beautiful natural surroundings.


Plan to meet me at the PoetTree for four Wednesday evenings in May, the 10, 17, 24 and 31.


Mary V will be there from 7:00pm – 8:00pm reading poetry.  She welcomes you to bring your poetry to read – it will be a wonderful opportunity to connect. She  encourages children to join us and share their ideas, too!


Not an Ode to Adelaide

That winter was bitter.

She pressed her body hard against the unforgiving wind.

She felt her eyelashes turn to crystals

transforming the dark evergreens, still

visible in the distant horizon,

into unknown figures,

in some ways foreboding

and in other ways comforting.

They grounded her to the crust of fresh snow

instead of driving her

into the bluster of ice, piercing her cheeks

like a hundred pin pricks.


Back at home John would be sitting

by the warm fire,

welcome respite from his hours

guiding the cattle to shelter.

He arrived as she pulled the rough woolen shawl

tight around her shoulders.


Stooping into the blast,

Adelaide looked up for a brief moment

and made out a soft light in the dark.

Clenching two melted hands to her mouth

breath dampened the earthy wool

and she pushed forward

imagining that very soon she would guide

a frightened mother

into an incredible moment.

And a baby would cry in surprise.


A fun time was had by all at BVR’s first annual Alberta Birthday/Speed Poetry Contest.

Approximately forty people attended the event on a beautiful, late summer evening. Attendees listened to music by The Alberta History Wrangler, Rob Lennard, and a cowboy poem was read by Bow Valley Ranche’s poet laureate, Mary V.  


First place in the individual competition was awarded to Kathleen Moors for her poem, Not an Ode to Adelaide. This poem was written in honour of Metis Adelaide Belcourt, married to European settler John Glenn, and one of the first women to settle in the Fish Creek area.  


Second place in the individual category went to Josephine LoRe.


Third place to Cameron Dizak.  


Thank you to Meghan Jones and June Read for helping to judge both categories of the poetry.


There was also a haiku and a limerick submitted.  We’re sad we weren’t able to give prizes to every participant!  


Third place in the group category was awarded to Annae Franco and Avra Miron. There was a tie awarded for first given to the Franco family and Amber, Immie and Wendy.


Honourable mention was given to Bison, written by Wyatt McInnis with help from Kennedy, and Campfire, by Cheryl Posten, Kathy Posten, Ken Henke and Susan Henke. The judges were also impressed with poems written about Edmonton Grads, Senator Patrick Burns, Cowboys and Chief ‘Bull Head’ Chiila.  

A sampling...

A Coyote Howl  

by the Franco family


Peering through grasses

I cry eerily, hauntingly.

See me inconspicuous against

the wind-beaten plain.

Echoing, my voice reaches out

into the wind,

and shudders into silence.


by Amber, Immie, Wendy


The chill is in the air

My shoulders nee to warm

I bend down to pick up kindling

But I’m missing something

I go looking for matches

Through my camp bag

My hand grasps a box

To my surprise

Something moves in the box

I open it a crack

A little nose peeps out

Before I know it

Out jumps a creature

I chase it out of curiosity

I corner it

I move in closer

What do I find?

Not the creature, but matches

      To make a campfire!!

Photo Credit: Neil Murray

About Mary V

Mary Vlooswyk • Calgary, AB

Mary is a poet who writes to reach unseen details, searching for the mysteries held beneath what the eye first sees. She is an emerging writer who was shortlisted for Quattro Books inaugural "Best New Poet in Canada" in 2018, and she placed third in a Canada 150 contest. Her writing has been published in Canada, the US, Wales, Japan and China in magazines such as Asahi Shimbun, Mothers Always Write, FreeFall, GUSTS, Moonbathing, Wales Haiku, and Wild Musette, as well as a number of anthologies. She is a contributing editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. 


Bow Valley Ranche’s poet laureate, Mary V.  launched her first book of poetry, On the Prairie Fringe. Thanks goes to Larry Wasyliw and The Historical Bow Valley Ranche Society for making this become a reality.


Author of Big Blue Sky Haiku and Reflection, Mary Vlooswyk’s collection of finely tuned haibun (a Japanese literary form that marries prose and haiku) reminds us again and again of the power of nature to heal, to provide pleasure, and wonder. As Vlooswyk says “owls… unhook me from my busy day.” Complimentary artwork only adds to the delight; sometimes, we are just all “waiting for a world/ that is never spoken.” Highly recommended.

Terry Ann Carter

author of Tokaido (Red Moon Press, 2017) Touchstone Distinguished Book Award past president of Haiku Canada


Mary Vlooswyk enters Fish Creek Park as in a sanctuary keenly respectful of all its sights and sounds. Travelling with her is sharing in this experience.

Lucille Raizada

Haiku and Tanka Poet


For anyone interested in purchasing a copy of On the Prairie Fringe, (Only $10.00) a lovely illustrated poetry book that explores Fish Creek Park, please contact Mary at: for more information.

Cowboy City Girl


I’m a city girl now

with black patent shoes

instead of dusty and worn

old cowboy boots


I smother a drawl

that sneaks into my speech

when least expected

it gives away my roots.


I eat sorbet from crystal

and drink water with bubbles

I really don’t want

to cause any trouble


but when skies grow dark

and stars pop out

my heart is left

without any doubt


that in a saddle

wandering wild and free

on the back of a bronc

is where I ought to be.


Mary Vlooswyk’s On the Prairie Fringe combines poetry, prose and illustrations to tell many fascinating stories about Fish Creek Park. Park preservation for future generations is also highlighted. It’s a must read for nature and poetry lovers.

Joanne Morcom


In The Park

pay attention

to this wild garden

where words fall like leaves

from trees

renew our bodies


yesterday's unfinished to-do list

quiet tomorrow's worries

(excerpt from In The Park  written by Mary)

Contact Mary V

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