Bio and CV
T. B. Perry is a poet and junior high school teacher living in Calgary Alberta, where he grew up as the second-oldest of six children. He has been a writer since he was a child. He wrote and illustrated his first book at the age of six: a hand-bound, limited edition, single copy picture book called Loafy, which chronicled the adventures of a walking, talking, unsliced loaf of bread and sold for five dollars at a rock and lemonade stand on 11A Street to an unsuspecting neighbour on his way home from work.
The immediate and short-lived success of his first book lead to other endeavors, such as the beginning of his first bubble gum collection and the purchase of hundreds of one-cent candies. However, after Loafy, Perry found himself shackled in a writer’s block that would last for the next sixteen years (aside from school assignments and the occasional letter sent to pen pals and girlfriends).
Almost two decades later, recently married and determined to find his purpose in life, Perry happened to Google Charles Bukowski while listening to the Modest Mouse song, “Bukowski.” Having always assumed that people stopped writing poetry after the sixteenth century, he was immediately intrigued by the dark truths and raw, relatable voice that inhabited Bukowski’s work, and became obsessed with reading contemporary Canadian and American poetry. He developed a bone-aching compulsion to seek out slim volumes of poetry by people he’d never heard of.
Disheveled, hunched over and shaking from too much caffeine, he pawed through boxes of donated poetry books at the Calgary Crossroads Farmers Market. He haunted the poetry sections of used bookstores and the local public and university libraries. He cursed the large chain bookstores for having ten times the shelf space dedicated to Stephanie Meyer than to the entire genre of poetry. He enrolled in creative writing classes at the University of Calgary and attended poetry readings in small bookstores. He slouched silently at the backs of classrooms until, eventually, he crawled out of the University of Alberta with a Bachelor degree in Education and an insatiable hunger to teach and write.
Perry had no idea that the two activities (teaching and writing) would become so inextricably woven together that his writing became deeply rooted in his experiences as a teacher. Within a few years T. B. Perry emerged, weary and in a cloud of chalk dust, from the hallways of a junior high school in Calgary with his first book-length manuscript of poetry under his arm, the manuscript that would later become known as Lessons in Falling.
After searching tirelessly for a publishing house worthy enough (or willing) to print his book, Perry finally stumbled, slightly inebriated at a local poetry slam, upon Eugene Stickland, a Canadian playwright and founder of B House Publications. Before that year was out, Lessons in Falling and the “brilliant, dark…barely relieved horror of these poems” hit the presses of B House and the bookshelves of Calgary, placing #1 on the Calgary Herald Bestseller list.
Today, Perry is still teaching junior high and writing poetry, and is working on his MFA in creative writing through the University of British Columbia. He and his wife have two young children, and he hopes to one day sell his books at their lemonade stand (on a consignment basis, of course) to their unsuspecting neighbours.