Teaching Places is a tale about one woman’s spiritual search, how that search calls her to the land and how the land teaches. The telling spirals, exploring loss of faith, loss of voice, and the finding of a different, broader faith and a deeper, stronger voice. Whitson’s journey takes her to many special wilderness areas across Alberta—from the edge of the Canadian Shield to mountains, prairies, boreal forest, and parkland. In the telling of her journey, she interweaves themes of migration, evolution, family, landscape, noise, silence, and song.


“Whitson’s book is a poetic evocation of particular places in Alberta, some of which she seems to be putting on our spiritual map for the very first time. Teaching Places is partly an ode to the natural beauty of our province. It is also a deeply-felt search for personal meaning. At the same time it is subtly charged with a challenge to Albertans to find the spiritual value in a landscape too easily plundered for resources.”

— Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction 2004 Jury


“Whitson pays attention to the world around her and the world inside her. The reader experiences the Alberta landscape through the eyes of a poet; self through the eyes of a wry, honest observer. The combination is seamless and revealing.”

— Grant MacEwan Author’s Award 2004 Jury


Publication Information

Buy Online

Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2003

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-425-6 and ISBN: 0-88920-425-X

[Link to publisher]

[Link to book excerpt currently found at please cut and paste OR preview available at]