Last fall, Katherena Vermette won the Governor General's Award for Poetry for her collection North End Love Songs, an ode to the part of Winnipeg where she grew up amid trees and birds and Big Gulps, and where her brother went missing -- a disappearance that was trivialized in the media because he was young and aboriginal. This spring, Katherena was featured on CBC Radio's Q live in Winnipeg show. Today, she is a Page Turner. Join her here on a playful celebration of change and the place that stories have in Winnipeg and our future. If you follow Katherena's lead and become a Page Turner today, you might win a copy of her GG-winning book.

Photo: Lisa D. Meiler

Photo: Lisa D. Meiler

When I think of Project Bookmark, I think of the young people. When I was a young person, I thought literature was pretty inaccessible and far away. I know better now, but come on, it was the 90s. Things were different back then. 

Dreaded yearbook photo

Dreaded yearbook photo

Nowadays, the world has opened and we have beautiful things like our very own Bookmark. Now all my young, hip Winnipegsters can mosey over to Osborne Village and know they are in the Republic of Love. I never read Carol Shields until I was an adult, but I did spend many a post-pubescent hour loitering in the exact spot that is now fancifully and literarily decorated with a shiny, new Bookmark! (They've since renovated the whole lot because the world is just more beautiful like that).

Kids of Sisler High School

Kids of Sisler High School

One of the amazing things I get to do is hang out with young people to talk about writing and make poems (see an amazing Oscar Selfie). I always say, it is not an exaggeration that writing saved my life. When I was 16 and walked into that creative writing classroom, I was just a messed up kid who thought she had nothing to say. By the time I left, well, I was still pretty messed up, but I had a pen! And maybe even a real live poem germinating inside of me. Take it from me, there are few things more beautiful than watching a poem sprout from a new writer. 

I want to thank this Project for helping the words seem so close and so real we can literally touch them. Now, we in Winnipeg can say, and have proof, that we live in the Republic of Love. Not a bad nickname as they go. Wouldn't mind if that one stuck. 

I'm pledging 20$ to Project Bookmark Canada today, and, if you have the means, you can too. It'll help make the world more beautiful, I swear!

Courtesy of J Gord Shillingford

Courtesy of J Gord Shillingford

Comment