Sarah Binks, by University of Manitoba professor Paul Hiebert, was published 1947 in Toronto.
Sarah Binks, by University of Manitoba professor Paul Hiebert, was published 1947 in Toronto. That the "Sweet Songstress of Saskatchewan" never drew breath has not prevented Hiebert's imaginary poet from holding in thrall the hearts of those for whom she has immortalized the "Saskatchewanesque" voice in Canadian letters.
Sarah's accomplishments are legend: founder of the influential "geo-literary" school of Canadian verse; creator of such heart-rending lyrics as "Hiawatha's Milking"; winner of Saskatchewan's highest poetic honour - the Wheat Pool Medal - for her epic "Up From the Magma and Back Again"; dead, tragically young, of mercury poisoning from a cracked thermometer.
Fortunately, by the time of her death her charming lyrical gifts, her sharp eye for natural detail, her acute ear for tripping metre, and her unerring sense of clinching rhyme had already secured her reputation; consider, for example, the oft-quoted opening of "My Garden": A little blade of grass I see, / Its banner waving wild and free, / And I wonder if in time to come / 'Twill be a great big onion.
Which of our real poets of the prairies has rivalled the verse of Hiebert's sweet creation? Hiebert judiciously traces the complex and subtle interweaving of Binksian life and art; his definitive biography memorialized the imperishable power, beauty, and grace of the Binksian oeuvre.