Patrick Friesen

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Patrick Friesen
Born (1946-07-05) 5 July 1946 (age 68)
Steinbach, Manitoba
Occupation Teacher
Nationality Canada
Period 1976—2007

Patrick Frank Friesen (born 5 July 1946) is a Canadian author. He has written many works, from poetry to stage plays. He began his works in 1970, writing books of poetry. This Canadian poet, who was born in Steinbach, Manitoba, studied at the University of Manitoba. While there, he received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree and a teaching certificate. After being a resident of Winnipeg for thirty years, Friesen now lives in Victoria, BC and is a teacher of creative writing at the University of Victoria. Friesen often collaborates with dancers, choreographers, composers and musicians. Along with writing poetry, he also writes songs for musicians and texts to Improv Piano. Friesen grew up in a small religious community, and comes from a Mennonite background, but he broke away from that small community physically and spiritually at a young age. His Mennonite upbringing still influences his work such as, “The Shunning,” which is about the persecution of a Mennonite farmer questioning his religion. The winner of Manitoba Book of the Year for his work on “Blasphemer’s Wheel," Friesen was also the runner up in Milton acorn’s People’s Poetry Awards. In a 2004 interview Friesen has noted that, “Being Mennonite in background had all kinds of effects on [his] content.” In 1997, his work, “A Broken Bowl,” was short listed for the Governor General’s Award.


  • The Lands I Am – 1976
  • Bluebottle – 1978
  • The Shunning – 1980
  • Unearthly Horses – 1985
  • Flicker and Hawk – 1987
  • You Don't Get to Be a Saint – 1992
  • Blashphemer's Wheel: Selected and New Poems – 1994
  • A Broken Bowl – 1997 (nominated for a Governor General's Award)
  • St. Mary at Main – 1998
  • Carrying the Shadow – 1999 (nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize)
  • The Breath You Take from the Lord – 2002 (nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize)\
  • Bordello Poems – 2004
  • Interim: Essays and Mediations – 2005
  • Earth's Crude Gravities – 2007


  • Blue Door – 1997 (with Marilyn Lerner)
  • Small Rooms – 2003 (with Marilyn Lerner)
  • Calling the Dog Home – 2005 (with Marilyn Lerner)


  • An Anthology of Prairie Poetry – 1981 (Draft)
  • Ride Off Any Horizon – 1983
  • Visions and Reality – 1985
  • Pieces of the Jigsaw: A Multicultural Anthology for Young Readers – 1986
  • Why I am a Mennonite – 1988
  • Section Lines: A Manitoba Anthology – 1986
  • A Labour of Love – 1989
  • A/long Prairie Lines: An Anthology of Long Prairie Poems – 1989
  • Liars and Rascals, anthology of Mennonite short stories – 1989
  • Prairie Fire: New Mennonite Writing – 1989
  • Mennonite/s Writing in Canada – 1990
  • The Perfect Piece, Monologues from Canadian Plays – 1990
  • Inscriptions, A Prairie Poetry Anthology – 1992
  • Let the Earth Take Note, First Anthology of the National Milton Acorn Festival from 1987 to 1991 – 1994
  • Poetry and Knowing, essays – 1995
  • Our Fathers, Poetry and Prose, by daughters and sons from the prairies – 1995
  • Instant Applause, Volume II, Thirty Very Short Complete Plays – 1996
  • Passeport: La Poésie Moderne de Langue Anglaise au Canada – 1998
  • Following the Plough: Recovering the Rural – 2000
  • New Life in Dark Seas: Brick Books 25 – 2000
  • Mocambo Nights: Poetry From the Mocambo Reading Series – 2001
  • The New Long Line Anthology, 2nd Edition – 2001
  • 15 Canadian Poets x 3 – 2001
  • Why I Sing the Blues' – 2001
  • Instant Applause: Twenty-nine Very Short Complete Plays – 2004



  • The Shunning, the Play, staged in 1985 by Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg, in 1992 by Theatre & Co. in Kitchener, in 1992 by Trinity Theatre in Livonia, Michigan, in 1993 by MAUS Theatre in B.C., and in 1995 by Two Planks and a Passion in Nova Scotia.
  • Amanda, a short drama on CBC Radio Manitoba, 1986.
  • Anna, a dance/words collaboration with choreographer Stephanie Ballard, with guest artist Margie Gillis, performed in 1987 at the Gas Station Theatre in Winnipeg.
  • Noah, a multi-disciplinary collaboration, presented as a working piece in 1987 at Main Access Gallery, Winnipeg.
  • Singer, a docu-drama on Richard Manuel for CBC Radio Manitoba, 1989 (with Big Dave McLean).
  • The Shunning, a one-hour radio adaptation for CBC Radio Canada, 1990 (producer: John Juliani).
  • Second Birth, a short drama for CBC Radio Canada, 1991.
  • Handful of Rain, a multi-disciplinary collaboration with Dance Collective, and various artists, performed at Gas Station Theatre, Winnipeg, April 1991.
  • The Raft, an original play, performed January 1992 at Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg, in February 1995 by Theatre & Co. in Kitchener.
  • The Raft, adapted for CBC Radio Canada, by Nancy Trites Botkin (producer: Kathleen Flaherty), 1997.
  • Friday, 6:32 p.m., an original short play written for the Short Shots series, staged by the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, 1993.
  • Old Woman and the Bones, collaboration with composer Michael Matthews, the musical group Thira, and Primus Theatre, staged at the New Music Festival in Winnipeg in February 1993.
  • Madrugada (a longer version of Old Woman and the Bones), performed by Groundswell and Primus Theatre at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre in Winnipeg, April 1995.
  • The Shunning, adapted, choreographed and performed by dance company Motus O at the Tarragon Theatre, Toronto, 13–17 Sept. 1995.
  • Broken Bowl (a segment from A Broken Bowl), created, performed with jazz pianist Marilyn Lerner, Sunstone Coffee, Winnipeg, 17 July 1996, at The Glass Slipper, Vancouver, 3 Oct 1996, four performances at the Atlantic Jazz Festival, Halifax, July 1997, and recorded by CBC Radio Manitoba, and called Blue Door (Producer: Andrea Ratuski), 1996.
  • Voice, a radio documentary (featuring Big Dave McLean and Tracey Dahl), by CBC Radio Manitoba (Producer: Andrea Ratuski), 1996.


  • Esther Warkov: A Spy in the House; producer – 1983.
  • Don Proch: The Spirit of Assessippi; writer/producer/director – 1985.
  • Patrick Lane; director/producer – 1985.
  • A Ritual of Horses: The Art of Michael Olito; director – 1987.
  • Rising to Dance, a documentary on senior students at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; director – 1990.
  • Together As One: A Dance Collaboration; writer/director/producer – 1991.