About StreetRag

May 13, 2008

StreetRag was a 28-month long writing project authored by Edmonton based poet Michael Gravel. It was launched in December 2005 and concluded in April 2008. The work was an ongoing account of the author’s experiences on the streets of Edmonton. People were the main focus of the blog, but recurring subjects included public transit, nighttime city denziens, Edmonton’s always troublesome weather, the grit and humor of urban life, and the beauty of the every day. The writing was fluid and often poetic. From the about page:

StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton – a rusty ‘ol socket of a town that wants to be a big city but can’t figure out how. Edmonton is located in Alberta, which makes it the de-facto capital of industry in Canada. StreetRag is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, photographs of suspect quality, deuteronomously abstract vocal ramblings, barely coherent musings and specious ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to Edmonton and its people.

In all, 259 vignettes were published. 600 visitor comments were left, and the site enjoyed a small but loyal online following. StreetRag is no longer updated but all material remains intact as originally published. You can visit the archives as a starting point if you wish. Here’s the first StreetRag article, if you’re up to starting at the beginning.

The article Edmonton Slang Terms has been the most popular post on the site, receiving upwards of 10,000 views and counting. Five Stabbings, No Tomorrow, a piece about street violence in Edmonton published in November 2006, has endured for its subject matter and still sees daily traffic.

A podcast was added to the site in September 2007. Only 13 episodes were produced, but the audio recordings offered a unique dimension by introducing the author’s voice to the readership. Podcast episodes can be found here, for your listening enjoyment.

Author Michael Gravel still lives in Edmonton and is currently involved in other writing projects.

Vignette #260  • 

StreetRag, An Urban Notebook

StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook


StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?

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