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Sarah Binks (1947)

de Paul G Hiebert

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1104189,207 (3.88)9
Paul Hiebert’s critical biography of the wholly mythical but irrepressible and irresistible Sarah Binks, “the Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan,” who gave her life to poetry and died a martyr to the muse, is a hilarious analysis of her career and influences, along with a memorable selection of the poet's tenderest, most inspiring writings. This masterpiece of satire won the 1947 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.… (més)
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    1066 And All That: A Memorable History of England de W.C. Sellar (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: Similar sorts of parodies of similar sorts of stuffy, academic works.
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Es mostren totes 4
This quirky little book still makes me smile even several years after I read it. ( )
  ColourfulThreads | Feb 18, 2021 |
What a delightful read! This novel is a parody of biographies and of literary criticism as it purports to tell the story of Sarah Binks, the sweet songstress of Saskatchewan. The author is masterful in his subtle use of humour and in his comedic timing. Sarah's poems are just bad enough to be the fodder for literary analysis, and her life story is one of minor incidents raised to heights of meaningfulness. Canadian under-stated humour at its best. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 1, 2019 |
Ah, Sarah Binks, sweet songstress of the Prairies, she was.

Funny from start to finish, (Sarah Binks) is a meticulously crafted parody of biographies and literary criticism and a satire of the Anglo Canadian identity’s excruciating need to find significance in itself. How does Paul Hiebert diffuse that incessant but utterly-Canadian boosterism, the likes of which we recently saw with Alice Munro and Eleanor Catton (the New Zealander woman who won the Man Booker and who was automatically conferred the Canadian Governor General's Literary Award because she lived in Canada for just six-years http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/11/14/the_scandal_that_is_canadia...)? Hiebert does so succulently with wheat, specifically with the obscure but eternal Wheat Pool Medal.

The line between delicious parody / satire with contempt is a very fine line, one that is mastered by only funny people. Fortunately, that is a line that Hiebert never crosses; he may take us near to it, but he always wrenches us back at the last moment. I mean, it’s very easy to laden on Binks, praise upon praise, and then conclude with a snide comment that unravels everything that came before, but Hiebert was meticulous not to do so. In fact, he piles on even more victory titles, more Roman triumphs, and tops it all off with cherries, even while he maintains his protagonist in the realm of the plausible.

Indeed, for while Sarah’s poems are pretentious, childish, shallow, and awful, they do adhere to proper form. Sara Binks (could have been) a poet of her time, though nothing like T.S. Eliot, or Yeats, much less Kipling or Lord Tennyson. Also, her poems were reminiscent to me of the American 19th century Fireside Poets, e.g. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who were once in vogue for plagiarizing indigenous folk tales for the sake of American boosterism and who are now dismissed and neglected as the road that should not have been taken.

As with any book, it is possible to not like this book. If you are the type who can’t stand Canadiana, with its all-white Prairie farmers and its all-white small towns who live with their all-white miseries set during the Great Depression or the War of 1812—where all Canadian stories were set and will always be—then this book may or may not be up your alley. If you are the type who always comes to books thinking that everything in it was written to the (literal) letter of everything, you probably wouldn’t like this novel because it might offend some perceived biases or prejudices you might have against the book, the merits of the book, or people you have known who have read this book (mayhaps, a member of the 2003 CBC Canada Reads panel?). In this latter case, I would assume that you’re some kind of unhappy and unfunny person, perhaps a passive-aggressive March Aries female, like Joachim Murat (Marshal of France, the King of Naples, and the Grand Duke of Berg). If not, can I assume that you are a Gemini caught between uber-paranoid Mayor Rob Ford and uber-narcissistic Kanye West? Regardless, if you must hate this book let it be known that you are looking for attention and power and in your crusade you will take a dump on one of the few good things in life, like this novel. Sigh.

Regardless, Sarah Binks is a reminder to us that those who are elevated above the rest, either by themselves or by the will of others, to the height of The Poet will never be satisfied in life or death or in the funny pages. It is a novel definitely worth repeated readings. Now, let me break out into song. ( )
1 vota GYKM | Nov 19, 2013 |
"Winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour, Sarah Binks is Paul Hiebert's entertainingly profound study of the wholly mythical 'Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan'... In addition to his hilarious analysis of Sarah's life and environment, and the influences on her work effected by Ole the hired man and Rover the dog, Professor Hiebert also presents us with a wide selection of Sarah's tenderest and most inspiring works." - cover blurb.

Full of works reminiscent of McGonagle... or the Vogons... this is truly outstanding "poetry" (Hiebert has a true genius for writing poetry that is bad in a wide variety of ways) and a wonderful satire on overly pretentious academic biographies. ( )
  muumi | Aug 27, 2007 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Hiebert, Paul Gautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Wheeler, LloydIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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SONNET

When I have turned life's last descriptive page, and written finis to a somewhat unplanned tale,
With here its moments of poetic rage,
And there long prose of dubious avail,
My friends will come and say, "He was a sage,
Lo, count the leaves, in truth, 'tis noble, look!
All this accomplished in his single age!"--
And sigh, and reverently close the book:

But from the multitude will come a few, Sweet sprightly souls who read not to enlarge
Each chapter to heroic tome, nor view
The title page as bright emblazoned targe--
But lovingly, to thumb each page anew,
And chuckle at the doodles on the marge.

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"After all, what was the beauty of sky and field and rain-drenched hill, of prairie swept by storm, of dazzling alkali flat, of hot fallow land in the sun of the summer afternoon of the misty pastels of the spreading-time? All these things have been hers . . . but she knew that they could never be completely hers, that they belonged to the prairie and to the West--that they were of Saskatchewan for all time.
"Come drought, come rust, come high tariff and high freight rates and high cost of binder twine--and what about the roads--I still say to you as I have already said to the electors of Quagmire and Pelvis, that a Province that can produce such a poet may be down but it's never out."
To those of the West who have seen these things and endured these things, who have known the round of what Sarah calls "The Four Seasons," and have lived bravely through good times and bad--this book is affectionately dedicated by the Author.

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Sarah Binks, the Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan, as she is often called, no longer needs any introduction to her ever growing list of admirers.
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Paul Hiebert’s critical biography of the wholly mythical but irrepressible and irresistible Sarah Binks, “the Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan,” who gave her life to poetry and died a martyr to the muse, is a hilarious analysis of her career and influences, along with a memorable selection of the poet's tenderest, most inspiring writings. This masterpiece of satire won the 1947 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

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