S.M. Steele PhD (Exon), Master of Library & Information Science, BMus (voice), (Hon.) Senior Research Fellow University of Exeter
Welcome newcomers and welcome back my 350,000+ faithful readers of my retired warpoet.ca website. A lot has happened in the decade since I began my diary, the road to war in Afghanistan with the Canadian Infantry as Canada’s first poet to serve as an official war artist (Task Force 3-09). One of the major outcomes of this work was a war requiem, with composer Jeff Ryan, Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic in 2012, and last performed by the Vancouver Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in 2017 at Roy Thompson Hall. Another is a video installation, Road to War, that has exhibited in France, Scotland, and several galleries in Canada.
Within months of returning from the war work I was awarded a fully-funded PhD from the University of Exeter, UK, where I spent the next several years. There, I was supervised by Professor Tim Kendall, a world expert on war literature and poetry (Poetry of the First World War, Oxford University Press), and Dr. Joe Crawford, a leading expert on Gothic literature and a consummate scholar, one able to recite entire epics off-the-cuff! I passed my viva in 2016 and graduated with my PhD (and here it is) in 2017. Immediately after graduating I won another major award, a Canada Council 150 New Chapter Award, to write a new opera on Louis Riel, with composer Neil Weisensel. The opera, Li Keur: Riel’s Heart of the North, is written in three Indigenous languages (‘Heritage’-Michif, French-Michif, and Anishinaabemowin, with the help of amazing Michif and Anishinaabe translators), French, and English.
Throughout, I continue with my private practice as a developmental and substantive editor and as a supplier of advanced intelligence (I am a mega-researcher with a Master of Library and Information Science). This site thus functions as a one-stop site for all of my professional work as I do not disaggregate my work. My approach to research, editing, and artistic practice is based on clear, clean, and memorable communications no matter what the field of endeavour. (George Orwell’s essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’, has long been an influence on my writing and editing.)
One of the best aspects of studying in the UK at a top-10 university, being a member an organization based at the University of Oxford, and a member of the innovative 1914FACES2014 research team, was my exposure to some of the most advanced researchers and research in the world. A lecture that stands out in my mind from that time was given by the archaeo-metallurgist Dr. Gillian Juleff of the University of Exeter. Dr. Juleff has done extensive research on early steel smelting techniques, notably the monsoon furnaces of Sri Lanka. Dr. Juleff’s research argues convincingly of early steel production utilizing the wind power of the monsoons, notably to make the famed Damascus steel forged in the hills of India and a prize trade good for centuries, known for its superior strength. (The wallpaper of this website is a photograph of a Damascus steel knife.)
As an editor, writer, communicator and teacher I aim to help others develop ideas and present them clearly and cleanly. My work as an editor, researcher, writer, and artist practitioner, forged through 30+ years of solid research experience can help transform others’ work into something profound — whether an executive summary, a dissertation, a proposal, a book, grant applications etc. To extend the metaphors, where glass is fragile and shatters, ideas etched in the steel(e) of clear, clean prose, gets the job done!