Louise Bernice Halfe, from the Saddle Lake Reserve in central Alberta, is the first Indigenous person to become Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate. Halfe, whose Cree name means “Sky Dancer”, has published many works of poetry including Bear Bones and Feathers, Blue Marrow, The Crooked Good and Burning in This Midnight Dream.
Her most recent work, awâsis – kinky and disheveled, will be published this spring by Brick Books. This latest collection of poems features a gender fluid trickster from Cree legend who delights in shape shifting and raucous adventure. Her poems combine the sacred with the profane, boldly facing trauma with irreverence, and pain with humour.
Halfe, a survivor of the Blue Quills Residential School, seeks to revitalize the Cree language and traditions through her work. She has transformed her suffering into inspiration through the alchemy of poetry, and in doing so, contributes to the truth and reconciliation process. Halfe uses her gift with words to educate and encourage all Canadians to engage in the process of Reconciliation, focusing on shared experiences and respect for all cultures.