Meet the Editor: Julie Salverson
Get to know the editor of the exciting new anthology When Words Sing: Seven Canadian Libretti—Julie Salverson!
Describe yourself in one sentence.
The woman under a tree with a book, a horse, and a question.
Tell us a little bit about your new book.
I didn’t know anything about opera, but I got to write one thanks to Tapestry New Opera and composer Juliet Palmer. I looked for examples of the words in opera and couldn’t find anything. Why not? I think this is the first collection of libretti in English, and it’s Canadian! Seven different stories: historical, allegorical, political, revealing, humorous, by Anna Chatterton, George Elliot Clarke, Marie Clements, Robert Chafe, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Royce Vavrek and me. New opera is exploding as an art form. Writing for opera you can be direct or discreet, luscious or chilly, seductive or savage—and all of it is a visceral poetry.
What’s something unique about you or something you like to do?
I love horses and I have become an eventer late in life. I ride with Morag and Selena O’Hanlon at O’Hanlon Eventing (this means you do dressage, show jumping, and cross-country jumping). My horse is Henry, a twenty-one-year-old paint. We are both senior citizens gamboling as if we were kids.
What is something that you enjoy doing, and why?
The above. Also, long walks anywhere, but particularly meadows and woods and by water. Solitude. Stillness. Gardens.
What are you reading these days?
The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins. Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin—I got an early copy, it comes out in July and it’s fabulous! Women Talking by Miriam Toews. The Larger Conversation by Tim Lilburn. Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi. Up From Freedom by Wayne Grady. I’ve discovered P.D. James and love her prose and her politics. What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson. Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization by Elaine Enns and Ched Myers.
What’s something that makes you laugh?
There are such different kinds of laughter. My horse when he won’t walk by peonies; my husband when we realize how ridiculous our argument is; the dangerous idiocy floating around, because what can you do. “We are all jokers: We will survive our problems.” —Jean-Luc Godard.
Learn more about Julie Salverson:
Julie Salverson is a writer, speaker, teacher, and workshop leader who has worked in professional and community engaged performance for many years. Her theatre, opera, and essays embrace the relationship of imagination and foolish witness to stories of violence. Her book Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir (Wolsak & Wynn) follows her journey tracing uranium from the Northwest Territories to Hiroshima while unearthing the secrets of her childhood, burning out as an activist, and finding beauty in haunted places. She runs workshops for groups practising resiliency through drama. She has published many essays about how to witness a terribly beautiful world as well as the role of clown and courage in facing difficulty. She is a professor of drama at the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s University and is based in Kingston, Ontario.