The Sad Phoenician
Kroetsch’s narrator tells us he is “sick of being galley slave to a penny’s worth of // words,” including: “dyspepsia, dropsy, // consumption, bronchitis, the bleeding piles” etc. His doctor dispenses advice on the order of “eat less” and “keep your hands on top of the quilt,” essentially a “there, there” as a mother might.
Robert Kroetsch was born in 1927 in Heisler, Alberta. He attended the University of Alberta and the University of Iowa. After a stint working on the river boats in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, he taught writing and literature at the University of Calgary and the University of Manitoba. Kroetsch was the author eight novels including The Puppeteer, Alibi, and What the Crow Said. Also to his credit are several volumes of poetry and non-fiction works. Robert Kroetsch was a Governor General’s Award winner. He passed away in 2011.