Canadian Sid Marty writes mainly on natural history and western life and culture. He has published five books of non-fiction and three of poetry, some of which are based on his formative experiences as a park warden in the Rocky Mountain national parks. His book Leaning on the Wind: Under the Spell of the Great Chinook was a finalist for the l996 Governor General’s Award for Literature and won the Mountain Environment and Culture Award at the l996 Banff Mountain Book Festival.
His newest non-fiction work is The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek (2008) which made the Globe and Mail's Top 100 list and was short-listed for the Governor General's Award. Black Grizzly picks up the story of some infamous bear attacks which were briefly mentioned in Switchbacks (l999). Switchbacks won the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature at the l999 Banff Mountain Book Festival.
Marty has long been a singer/guitarist performing his original songs about western Canada at various venues and on radio. He and his wife, Myrna, live near Pincher Creek, Alberta, at the foot of the mountains.
Sid Marty is a fourth generation Albertan, a singer-songwriter, author and western poet. He was schooled in Medicine Hat, Calgary and Montreal. He and his family have resided in an old ranch headquarters in southwestern Alberta, since l981.
Sid Marty's career as a writer began while still in University with the publication of poems in the Soundings anthology edited by Jack Ludwig and Andy Wainwright (l970) and poems published in Al Purdy's Storm Warning anthology (l971). This led to an invitation from John Newlove, then an editor at McClelland and Stewart (Toronto), to submit a MS of poetry. This was published in l973 and entitled Headwaters.
Sid was a park warden (ranger) from l966 to l978 in Yoho , Jasper, Prince Albert and Banff national parks. He spent part of his career patrolling the mountain backcountry with saddle and pack horses. He wrote many of the poems in his first two poetry books literally in the saddle, composing them in his head while on patrol far from home. He writes some rhyming poems but mainly works with free verse. In the 70s, prompted by Jack McClelland's faith in his ability to handle prose, he wrote Men for the Mountains (l978), one of his best known works. A good portion of that book was composed by the light of candles or Coleman lanterns in remote forestry cabins late at night.
His books are about family, rangers, cowboys, homesteaders, forest fires, grizzly bears, love, death, mountaineers and wildlife conservation. His poems appear in many Canadian anthologies, including the Oxford Book of Canadian Verse and in a number of school text books. His book Men for the Mountains was twice cited by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association as one of the fifty most influential books in the Canadian conservation movement. Since l978, Sid Marty has been a full time free lance writer and part time singer/songwriter. He writes on natural history and social issues, and has also written radio and television plays.
Men for the Mountains ( non-fiction), Toronto: McClelland, l978; New York: Vanguard Press, l979.
A Grand and Fabulous Notion ( non-fiction), Toronto: NC Press, l985.
Leaning on the Wind; Under the Spell of the Great Chinook, (non-fiction),Toronto, Sydney and San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., l995. Heritage House, Victoria, 2009.
Switchbacks, true stories of the Canadian Rockies.(non fiction) Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, l999.
The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek, (Non-fiction),Toronto: McClelland and Stewart 2008.
Nobody Danced With Miss Rodeo (poems), Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, l981
Sky Humour (poems), Windsor: Black Moss, l999. Calgary: Frontenac, 2011.
Headwaters (poems) Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, l973
About Leaning on the Wind :
--" ...fine writing and absorbing narrative" Maggie Siggins:
Toronto Globe and Mail, Nov. ll, l995.
--" Surely one of the best books about Alberta ever written." Kevin Connolly: Equinox Magazine, September, l995.
-- " These essays are so vital, so vibrant, so full of life, you just want to jump up and down for joy." Edmonton Journal, Nov. 26, l995.
About Switchbacks :
"Marty is a magnificent storyteller. Like a bush-camp cook, he throws everything into the pot--high adventure-comedy, tragedy, even the lyric adjective..." Edmonton Journal
about Headwaters and Nobody Danced With Miss Rodeo
"Sharp and clean as a glacier ridge." Toronto Globe and Mail
"Intense, beautiful, honest and moving." Windsor Star
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