Revery: A Year of Bees

Revery: A Year of Bees

Jenna Butler
  • $18.00

October 2020
160 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-13-8

**Longlisted for Canada Reads 2023**
**Finalist for the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for Non-fiction**
**Finalist for the High Plains Book Award for Woman Writer**

"I hope you're okay in there, lovelies. I hope you're warm." After five years of working with bees on her farm in northern Alberta, Jenna Butler shares with the reader the rich experience of keeping hives. Starting with a rare bright day in late November as the bees are settling in for winter she takes us through a year in beekeeping on her small piece of the boreal forest. Weaving together her personal story with the practical aspects of running a farm she takes us into the worlds of honeybees and wild bees. She considers the twinned development of the canola and honey industries in Alberta and the impact of crop sprays; debates the impact of introduced flowers versus native flowers, the effect of colony collapse disorder and the protection of natural environments for wild bees. But this is also the story of women and bees and how beekeeping became Jenna Butler's personal survival story.

Reviews | Interviews | Articles | Excerpt | About the Author | Other Titles


REVERY: A YEAR OF BEES (Mark Winston, Bee Culture: The Magazine of American Beekeeping, 01/02/2022)
"Butler explores the many ways beekeepers seek healing through bees, going well beyond the expected apitherapy treatments. She notes how some seek economic healing, hoping for financial independence and security, others find spiritual growth through bees."

Revery: A Year of Bees (Laurie D. Graham, Alberta Views, June 2021)
"Revery cuts a wide swath, covering industry and its harms, climate change and solastalgia, predators and disease, the workings of the hive, honey’s 'colonial past,' the changing community of beekeepers, beneficial organic practices and the ways the bees have contributed to the author’s recovery from past abuse. 'Working with the bees has given me back my sense of agency,' she writes."

Revery: A Year of Bees (EVENT Magazine, June 2021)
"Butler's book reads like a cross between a collection of essays and a naturalist's journal, containing the attentiveness of a love letter and the wistfulness of an elegy."

Revery: A Year of Bees (Susan J Tweit, Story Circle Network, 14/12/2020)
"It is Butler’s luminous and discerning prose that places this volume with other classics that closely observe a place and its inhabitants, giving us insight into what it means to be fully and powerfully human in a turbulent but beautiful world."


Episode 16: Entrances with Jenna Butler (Catherine Owen, Ms. Lyric's Poetry Outlaws, 29/06/2023)
Jenna Butler and Catherine Owen talks identities, voicings, the land, healing and reads an amazing poem called "Robbing Day."

On Reverence: To Bee or Not to Bee (Annahid Dashtgard, Soundwaves of Belonging, 01/05/2023)
A wonderful discussion between Annahid Dashtgard and Jenna Butler.

Revery: A Year of Bees by Jenna Butler (CBC Books, 12/01/2023)
Jenna talks about making the Canada Reads longlist in this interview.

Writer Jenna Butler meditates on the healing power of bees in her Governor-General’s Award-nominated memoir (Tara Henley, the Globe and Mail, 26/11/2021)
A lovely interview with Jenna.

Book Club: Jenna Butler (Ben Fast, Well That's Cool Book Club, 21/02/2021)
Jenna joins Ben Fast for this episode of the Well That's Cool Book Club.

Writer's Block: Jenna Butler (All Lit Up, 21/01/2020)
Jenna talks about the impulse to write, a writerly moment at age six and how reading IBPOC/BIPOC writers makes her feel more.

E217 with JENNA BUTLER (Jamie Tennant, Get Lit, 14/01/2020)
Jamie and Jenna  talk about her new book.

Bee Whisperer Jenna Butler Talks from Her Off the Grid Alberta Farm about Climate, Storytelling, & Healing (Jenna Butler, Open Book, 10/12/2020)
An interview with Jenna about climate, storytelling and healing.

Q&A with Jenna Butler (Nancy Pearson, Victoria Festival of Authors, 22/09/2020)
"As we were saying just before the interview, there’s smoke in the air from the fires in California. People who are looking around them and looking at the ways in which we’ve impacted our ecosystem in devastating ways and maybe struggling with that question of: How do you find hope when it feels like maybe your sense of agency is so small? How do you find hope? How do you find a way through? How do you take meaningful action in such a way that it feels like your action, what you are able to do, is enough?"

An Interview with Jenna Butler (Jamal Ali, Freefall Magazine, 28/06/2020)
"People everywhere are tied together in this deep desire to connect with the land in a meaningful way."


On Rereading: Books that Bowled Me Over and Blew My Mind (Katie Welch, 49th Shelf, 06/06/2022)
Jenna's memoir appears on this list of Katie Welch's recommended reading.

Two Edmonton women named finalists for Governor General's Literary Award (Justin Bell, Edmonton Journal, 10/11/2021)
Aa wonderful piece about Jenna Butler's nomination for the Governor General's Literary Awards.

Angie Abdou Stocks Up On Alberta Non-Fiction (Angie Abdou, Daybreak Alberta with Russell Bowers, 20/06/2021)
Grab a pen and paper to take notes. Author and book reviewer, Angie Abdou, has a strong list of 4 non-fiction books connected to Alberta.

Most Anticipated: Our 2020 Fall Nonfiction Preview (49th Shelf, 23/07/2020)
Jenna's book makes the list of Most Anticipated Fall 2020 non-fiction.

11 New Books That Will Change How You Think About the Climate Crisis (Sarah Neilson, Shonaland, 07/08/2020)
Jenna's book makes the list of 11 New Books That Will Change How You Think About the Climate Crisis.

Spring 2020 Books: What's Trending? (Kerry Clare, 49th Shelf, 03/02/2020)
Jenna's book is part of 49th Shelf's list of "What's Trending?"

Most Anticipated: Spring 2020 Nonfiction Preview (49th Shelf, 23/01/2020)
"After five years of working with bees on her farm in northern Alberta, Jenna Butler shares with the reader the rich experience of keeping hives in her memoir (and personal survival story)."


Read an excerpt from Revery: A Year of Bees.

About the Author

Jenna Butler is the author of three critically acclaimed books of poetry, Seldom Seen Road (NeWest Press, 2013), Wells (University of Alberta Press, 2012) and Aphelion (NeWest Press, 2010); an award-winning collection of ecological essays, A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge the of Grizzly Trail (Wolsak and Wynn, 2015); and a poetic travelogue, Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard (University of Alberta Press, 2018).

Butler's research into endangered environments has taken her from America’s Deep South to Ireland's Ring of Kerry, and from volcanic Tenerife to the Arctic Circle onboard an ice-class masted sailing vessel, exploring the ways in which we impact the landscapes we call home. A professor of creative writing and environmental writing at Red Deer College, she lives with seven resident moose and a den of coyotes on an off-grid organic farm in Alberta's North Country.

Other Titles by this Author

A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail (2015)

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