From 1978 to 2002, Gary Garrison worked at the Alberta Legislature as Executive Assistant to Speaker Gerry Amerongen and as Editor of Alberta Hansard. Gary worked for the Mennonite Central Committee as coordinator of the M2W2 prison visitation program at Edmonton Institution (The Max) from 2003 to 2010. He taught English at The King’s University in Edmonton from 2002 to 2005. He earned a Ph.D. in English at the University of Alberta in 1978.
Gary has been an active and prominent member of Edmonton’s vibrant literary community. He leads writing workshops and performs his poetry at a variety of venues in Edmonton. He served as President of the Edmonton Stroll of Poets Society and was on the board of the Edmonton Poetry Festival for seven years. His poetry has won awards on CBC Radio, Presence magazine, at the Edmonton Poetry Festival,the University of Alberta Hospital, and The King’s University. He has been writing poetry for patients for over nine years as part of the Artist on the Wards program. His poems have appeared in The Prairie Journal, Other Voices, The Parkland Post, BlueSkiesPoetry.ca, Presence, the Boyle-McCauley News, and in numerous anthologies, including, 40 Below, Home and Away, CBC Alberta Anthology 2006, Sun and Snow, and the Stroll of Poets’ annual anthology.
Gary has published nonfiction prose works in Peace Magazine, The Story that Brought Me Here, the Canadian Parliamentary Review, The Parliamentary Review, and The Boyle-McCauley News. He co-authored two local history books, Dancing through the Decades and McCauley Then and Now. His nonfiction book based on his prison experiences, Human on the Inside: Unlocking the Truth about Canada’s Prisons, was published in February 2015 by the University of Regina Press.
Gary has written and performed songs in a variety of venues, including Edmonton’s Heart of the City Festival, the Creative Age Festival, The Church Street Festival, Celebrating Success with Clara Hughes, Tocho Morocho 2014, the Edmonton Poetry Festival Joy Harjo Jam 2014, and the University of Alberta Green & Glow Winterfest 2015.
He sings and plays the guitar, harmonica, flute, and didgeridoo—but not all at the same time!
Gary is an avid gardener, a member of the Edmonton Permaculture Guild, and an advocate for sustainable urban farming practices. He participated in the 2014
Permaculture Design Course offered by the Urban Farmer in Cuba. He is an active member of his inner city Edmonton community and president of the BoyleMcCauley News Society