Michelle Elrick


SQUARE is a story of room with one window and no door. Within this space, a woman’s memory distorts reality even as it defines the present. Ordinary objects explode with significance in this fantastical dream-like film where the “real” swells to unreal proportions only to finish where it began.

This film is based on the poem “Sigur Rós doesn’t sound the same on these speakers” by Michelle Elrick. It grew out of Elrick’s international performance project, “Notes from the Fort: a poetic of inhabited space,” which launched in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2012 before traveling to Northern Scotland, Austria and Western Canada in 2013. Elrick also served as director, teaming up with cinematographer Tyler Funk (“expect something and nothing at once,” 2012), and bringing in Seth Woodyard, Matt Peters and Peter Kralik for art direction, sound design and set design respectively.  SQUARE exposes the complicity of memory in generating one’s sense of place using sometimes sombre, sometimes playful distortions of environment to demonstrate the effect of memory on perception. Elrick has written extensively on this topic at notesfromthefort.com and in her upcoming book then/again.

SQUARE will debut on CBC television’s “Canadian Reflections” program in the 2015/2016 season, date tba.

remember the old log house

remember the old log house on acres of land (all bush) acres and acres where we lived and died and married again.

remember the old log house was recently released by As We Try & Sleep Press. This edition, a collaborative work between Peter Kralik and I, is a series of short found poems mined from a document written by my grandfather, George Elrick, in 1989. I call it an “edition” for lack of a succinct term. The more accurate way to speak of it is as “a new poetic work of alternative cartography” or “a geography of memory” or “a topographic poem.” Simply put, this 14″x17″ accordion-folded topographic map describes a landscape generated by text.

Inspired by Jordan Abel’s stunning piece “The Totem Pole Transported to Toronto” in Dandelion Magazine 37.1 (the “Mapping” issue) I decided to write a series of found poems using a document that Grandpa George had written to record a few childhood memories, ancestral tidbits and family history. Laid out on a 14″ square, mirror image on the backside of the page, his text (through my poems) became a terrain of rivers, roads, trails and markers punctuated by nine peaks, indicating the nine times he used the word remember. This intricate, hand drawn topography was brought to life by Peter and screen printed on semi-transparent bond paper at Martha Street Studio in Winnipeg. The result is a multidimensional reading of Grandpa George’s memories, imagined as a landscape replete with pathways, waterways and parkland. Locked into this dialogue between the map and the poetry are a number of hidden resonances that come to light with a sleuthing eye. My first mystery novel, perhaps.

remember the old log house is available to order by contacting me directly, or through As We Try & Sleep Press.

new edition launch, presented by:


Performance and edition launch by As We Try & Sleep Press featuring Michelle Elrick and Kegan McFadden. This event will feature readings in conjunction with the release of a publication featuring a new work in alternative cartography with found text by Elrick. A range of various titles in a limited edition will be available for sale from $1 – $25. Readings will take place at 7:30 PM and 9:00 PM at Munson Park in Winnipeg. As this is an outdoor exhibition, a rain date is scheduled for Thursday July 25th.

 ONE NIGHT STAND is a Winnipeg based nomadic contemporary art gallery exhibiting local and national artists. Exhibitions are open to the public and are on display for one night only.

expect something and nothing at once

Some good news arrived this Spring from the Winnipeg Film Group. My film “expect something and nothing at once” will be screened at four festivals in 2013, The Body Electric Poetry Film Festival in Fort Collins, Colorado on May 4, Breakthroughs Festival in Toronto, May 10-12, as well as the Suffolk International Film Festival in Suffolk, UK July 11-13 and TRUCK gallery’s bike-in cinema series in Calgary, AB this summer. Also, it will have it’s television debut on CBC’s “Canadian Reflections” program in January 2015.


expect something and nothing at once from Michelle Elrick on CBC’s “Canadian Reflections.”

This short film is part of my larger project, Notes from the Fort: a poetic of inhabited space, which is a series of performance installations that create intimate places in unfamiliar environments through the play-act of fort building. Notes From the Fort was underway in Reykjavík, Iceland from July-August 2012, then moved to Winnipeg, Canada from September-November 2012. The soundscape that underlies the film was made from sounds collected from my ancestral homes of Austria and Scotland, as well as sounds collected during the 2012 implementation of the project in Reykjavík. The poem “expect something and nothing at once” is an imagistic retelling of my personal sense of home, focusing briefly on a series of bright, vivid images that carry the listener within the walls of the fort and of the poem itself. For more information, visit www.notesfromthefort.com.

Special thanks and congratulations to Tyler Funk, Director of Photography, for making it look so good.

on tour


This May-July I will be on tour with Notes from the Fort, an ongoing series of performance installations and place-specific writing. I’ll be building forts in various locations in Scotland, France and Austria during the month of May, and then back to Canada in June and July with stops in Abbotsford, Clear Lake and Bruno. Each fort becomes a temporary space for writing, forming a “live poetic document” of sense of place and the origins of home.

To follow the project, and to view/read the Reykjavík series, visit www.notesfromthefort.com.


Notes from the Fort: Winnipeg launch


Notes from the Fort: a poetic of inhabited space

Over the past six months I have been working on a new project, Notes from the Fort: a poetic of inhabited space. This series of performance installations create intimate home-like spaces in unfamiliar environments through the play act of fort building. Using only existing structures and a suitcase full of hand-crafted materials, each fort is constructed, inhabited, noted and dismantled in a live poetic document of sense of place and the origins of home.

Notes from the Fort is currently under way in Reykjavík, Iceland. I will be taking it back to Winnipeg, Canada at the end of August, 2012. New “notes” will be published on the documentary website throughout the coming months.

Visit www.notesfromthefort.com to follow the project.

track record 2009

This postcard is partly responsible for “Layover” placing third in Geist magazine’s 8th annual Literal Literary Postcard Contest. You can read the full story on their website.

The story is a fictionalized autobiography of homeplace and the postcard depicts my modes of transportation and destinations of travel in 2009. The idea for the postcard grew out of an entry in my notebook at the end of the year. It said, “I am tired.”

Thanks to Geist for publishing such an excellent magazine.

Prairie Fire WordFest 2012

Poetry at McNally Robinson Booksellers with Glen Sorestad and Jennifer Still.

In Dialogue: Johanna Skibsrud & Michelle Elrick

On October 22, 2011 Johanna Skibsrud will be in Winnipeg to launch her new book of short stories This Will be Difficult to Explain (Hamish Hamilton, 2011) as part of the Manitoba Writers’ Guild In Dialogue reading series. I will be reading alongside her that evening, from my new novel manuscript.

Johanna is both a poet and fiction writer, having published two books of poetry, one novel (The Sentimentalists, winner of the 2010 Giller prize) and now this new collection of short stories. For myself, a poet in the final stages of drafting my first novel, I look forward to hearing our works read aloud together, listening with a special interest to the play of voice, language and imagery that is sure to emerge.

The reading takes place at 7:30pm at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe, Saturday October 22. Tickets can be reserved through the Manitoba Writers’ Guild office (more info here).