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Imagined Truths: Richard Lemm’s “Mythic” Memoir

Richard Lemm, an Islander-by-choice, author, and UPEI professor since 1986, will launch his memoir, Imagined Truths: Myths from a Draft-Dodging Poet, published by Tidewater Books (Vancouver). The launch will take place on Thursday, October 7, at 7:30 p.m. in The Carriage House at Beaconsfield, 2 Kent Street, Charlottetown, and feature Matt Rainnie, CBC Main Street host, in conversation with Richard, and short readings. 

To attend the event, please register at Eventbrite.  

Imagined Truths begins with the story of an “all-American” boy born in Seattle the year after the Second World War ended. Descended from several generations of war veterans, he immigrated to Canada as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and transformed into an enthusiastic Canadian with enduring American roots.

The memoir delves into family myths and facts, from German immigrants to America fleeing famine and violence in the 1850s, then migrating north to Alberta to hunt wolves and sell moonshine, to his mother’s logging family on the west coast of Washington State. We find Lemm’s great-grandfather fighting at Gettysburg, Grandpa Lemm in the Battle of Manila during the Spanish-American War, and his Canadian father in an American uniform in the European and North African campaigns.

A gifted mother afflicted by tragedy and mental illness, the logging-camp grandmother and bartender grandfather who raised the future war resister, and a magnificent pioneer great-grandmother loom large in Lemm’s life and memoir.

Interwoven with the stories are reflections on various myths and their relationships with historical and contemporary reality: the wild west, nuclear family, noble warrior, man’s man and dutiful son, land of opportunity, greatest country on earth, and true north strong and free. Taking us from patriotic pageants at Disneyland to a Canadian citizenship ceremony, Imagined Truths ventures back and forth across the border, exploring the presence and power of these myths in our personal, cultural, and national histories.

The launch is co-sponsored by The Bookmark and the UPEI English Department and Dean of Arts. Attendance, at present, is limited to 50 people. Please register in advance to ensure that you have a seat.

Categories: Events Memoir/Life Writing

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Lee Ellen

Writer, editor, educator.

1 reply

  1. Hi Richard, in a typical pandemic mind fog I neglected to order a ticket to your launch before it sold out. This is just a note to say sorry I won’t be there but I will be thinking about you and I look forward to getting a copy of Imagined Truths. Much love to you and Lee Ellen, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you and now I don’t even know where you live!



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