Introducing the Guest Poetry Blog Series and its First Contributor, Canadian Poet Rosemary Griebel – Part One of Two

Calgary-based poet Rosemary Griebel. Photo Credit: Monique de St. Croix

After twelve years of the Recovering Words poetry blog I wanted to introduce other voices to this conversation.  To have other poets and readers of poetry share with me and my readers a poet who means much to them and, quite likely, profile a poet I am not familiar with with, adding to my on-going poetry education! And, of course, I hope these poets will be new to you as well and, if not, give you a deeper appreciation of their work.

It is my huge pleasure to introduce the Calgary-based poet Rosemary Griebel as the the first guest blogger in this new series of poetry blog posts. Her blog will feature the American poet Mark Wunderlich. In Rosemary’s last few lines of her blog she leaves us with a gorgeous reminder of what great poems achieve: In fiction we create stories. In poetry we create mysteries, and this resplendent and mysterious collection is a reminder how something rare and precious can be crafted out of a memory, a place, a moment’s perception.

I first met Rosemary at a Patrick Lane poetry retreat in 2008 and we have subsequently met at many poetry events, especially in Calgary. One of my special memories of her was as my tour quide through the new Calgary Central Library, a remarkable public building opened in 2018. Rosemary was one of the senior librarians involved in its concept and design.

Rosemary is no stranger to the Recovering Words poetry blog.  To see these previous poetry blog posts on Rosemary please click on the following years, 2012 and 2017,  in which the blogs appeared. I also have other posts that quote or mention Rosemary. You can find them in the index of authors featured in my blogs. The index can be found on the right at the bottom of my website’s home page.

When I invited Rosemary to  contribute to this new series I asked her to share some of her background and background in poetry. She responded to say she would include it all in a poem! One modelled after a poem by Mark Wunderlich. Of course! And I hope she forgives this liberty! Her poem doesn’t include these lovely lines she shared with me a few days ago about a key inspiration behind her poetry journey:

When I was young — in my very green salad days – I had a book of poetry called The Penguin Book of Women Poets (1978). A book I loved very much. There was a poem in there by an Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, that had the lovely lines: “In a room measured by solitude / my heart / measured by love / finds ordinary excuses for its happiness…” (from “Born Again”), and indeed that has been my mantra through the years.

Thank you so much Rosemary for you, your love of poetry and your blog post which will be posted along with my introduction to the new series and to Rosemary’s introduction and feature poem of hers.

Rosemary’s Introduction and Poem:

I have been reading Richard Osler’s blog, “Recovering Words” since its inception in 2010. Each posting is a beautiful gift introducing me to new poets or reminding me of favourite poems. I was delighted when Richard invited me to write a guest blog, although it was a challenge to find a poet that Richard hasn’t already written about!

For many years I have followed the work of Mark Wunderlich a queer American poet with rural roots, who is a self-declared agnostic, yet returns repeatedly to the call of spirit. I have always enjoyed poems that look at one thing and show us something else.

Richard asked me to introduce myself and include one of my poems, so I have combined the two requests into a poem modeled after Mark Wunderlich’s opening poem, Wunderlich from God of Nothingness released by Graywolf Press in 2021.


(after Mark Wunderlich’s “Wunderlich”)

The name means “pork cracklings”.
The name means “spine shiver,” or frisson of disgust.
The name is also sourced from “graben” or grave.
It suggests those who communicate with the dead
or seek out ghost stories. It is a storyteller
who gorges on kummerspeck, the salty taste of grief.
The name sounds like insects splitting their hard shells
to release slender wings.
It means an Uncle who wrote poetry,
and died penniless in Mexico. It means
a father who found the hired man, throat black,
wind-blown, hanging from a tree.
It suggests one who is dreamy
and walks river paths, has seen words floating
like feathers in the air. It means one
who laboured by day in a library
and dreamt of books at night.
It can mean “solitary”.
It can mean “she prefers cats and flowers”.
It means from a long lineage of distinguished
garden gnome makers.
The name means “fiery with fear of deep waters”
an Aries with a North Node in Scorpio.
It means when young she devoured Sylvia Plath and Alden Nowlan,
wanted to be a poet or an astronomer. Not a hausfrau.
It means “omnivore” with an excessive love of gatherings
around a raucous table, wine and produce
from the greening mouth of summer.
It can mean “those who hear God in the shortgrass prairie.”
It certainly means “word lover,” one who loves the words
gathered in fields, or at a small desk in the white lung of night.

Rosemary Griebel, August, 2022

Thank You Rosemary!

What to say but what a way for Rosemary to celebrate her life and her poetic graces. This rich and haunting poem. And what a particular way to honour Mark Wunderlich and his poem Wunderlich. And as they should, the poems differ although they share the form of repeating what their last names mean.

I don’t know when Rosemary’s definitions of Griebel become made up metaphors, no longer locked inside some dictionary. Maybe right away. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter. What is revealed goes far beyond the abstraction Griebel to the particular woman inhabiting that name here and now. Her Griebel. Her Rosemary Griebel. And that Griebel I celebrate, the one who gorges on kummerspeck, the one who dreamt of books at night, loves cats and flowers, an omnivore with a love for the greening mouth of summer and one who loves words/gathered in fields, or at a small desk in the white lung of night.



  1. Posted August 24, 2022 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Rosemary, how lovely to read your evocative poem in this blog. I didn’t connect with your German background, but of course your name.

  2. Richard Osler
    Posted August 30, 2022 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Heidi, I sure hope Rosemary reads this! So happy she so generously agreed to be a guest blogger! Hope you will be one one day, too!

  3. Tonya
    Posted August 30, 2022 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    That introduction poem!
    My oh my.
    I’m gobsmacked – that’s what it can mean to read Rosemary Griebel’s poems.

  4. Richard Osler
    Posted August 30, 2022 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Patrick Lane wrote once that Rosemary was one of the good ones! For me that means she is a poetic acrobat! She knows how to leave the over known of the everyday by making it new, by letting go and trusting she will find a next line to hold tight to! And then let go again!

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