War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

two notes and a correction

first, the correction: my last posting should read “back in mid-June”

now here are responses to contacts I’ve received:

a correspondent asked me what an Ex. is. (for definitions, go to the Extras Section of the website and click on Canadian Military Terminology)

but for the record, an Ex. is a training exercise. I’m heading out for the last Ex. with the battalion, now part of the battle group and task force, in a few days.

this has been a fascinating experience beginning with Shilo, Manitoba, last autumn, when I had the opportunity to watch the soldiers train at the most basic levels as individuals (e.g., Carl Gustave ranges), then at the rifle coy. level (house to house, patrol…), then at the battalion level (e.g., in concert with engineers, medics, artillery etc.).

a few weeks ago I got to observe the battalion folded into the brigade, then battle group level (including fast air, artillery etc.), and at Wainwright, I’ll have the chance to observe the entire Task Force.

to add to this incredible experience, I’ve been privileged to be invited to social events such as the Men’s Christmas Dinner in the Hangar, the Christmas NCOs vrs. Officers Hockey Game, the Brigade Officers’ Mess Dinner (yes, the poppy dress one), as well as informal chats and socials such as the Smokers, an Ex. traditional BBQ near the end of each Ex.

as important as all of these experiences have been, the most profound have been the sharing of meals, coffee, IMPs (well not the food, but the sharing anyway) etc. one-on-one chats, and receiving letters of thanks from soldiers, their parents, and general readers.

here is a comment sent in today and posted by mistake (my error) in another section of the web site:

Hello Ms. Steele,
Hopefully your flight has been a smooth one as you embark on this new phase of your adventure. I am taking this opportunity to write you a public thank you for providing Open School BC permission to include a copy of Elegy for an Infantryman and a thank you also to Hebridean for permitting the use of Poppies. I am very grateful that you took the time (two hours before your flight!) to correspond with me and send me a text version of the elegy.

We will be using the poems in the Poetry module of our English 12 course, which is designed for use by distance education students around the province. Though Open School does not develop the curriculum framework (learning objectives) that students must follow in BC, we do develop course materials which adhere to these standards.

At any rate, thank you again for your efforts, and all the best in your journey abroad.

Adrian Hill
Educational Project Manager
Open School BC

needless to say, this is thrilling that our pieces will be part of BC school student’s curriculum. my very favourite audiences are the young ones who are open-minded and willing to think through ideas… I spoke to a writing class in Victoria on Wednesday and found them to be an appreciative and intelligent audience.

well must go, I didn’t think I’d have internet access after yesterday so this is all a bonus.

this continues to be a fascinating, albeit at times extremely tough journey on many many levels.

drop me a line,


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled two notes and a correction. It was posted here on May 29, 2009.


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