Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan announcement

I still can't believe it. This is snipped from the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild site:

What I want to say here is thank you. And I want to say it now rather than later. Life being what it is, anything can happen between now and the beginning of the term. The thank you I posted yesterday on another platform could use some revision and editing, but it was the best I could do at the time and I don't think I can see it properly yet. Here it is as it appeared:

If this Poet Laureate news comes as a surprise to you, imagine how I feel!

I can’t seem to get this thank you right, but here goes. I’ve lived in Saskatchewan for most of my life and I love it here. It’s amazing to live in a province and country that gives poets positions like this. After all, poets aren’t easy to steer for the most part. Poets, as I know them, aren’t really into following. But this position has a job description. There are duties. The position honours not the poet so much as the poems, writing, and all the other art - mine and yours - that arise from lives closely attended to. It honours all those who came before and all those to come. It honours the communities to which we belong and it honours the occasions we share. It honours the places we write about: in my case, the farm where I grew up, the mining town where I live, and every road I travel; it honours every bird that makes me hit the brakes.

Thank you so much to the person who nominated me; it was a wonderful surprise and a great honour in itself.

Thank you to the publishers who publish my work and work so hard to make sure voices like mine and yours have a chance to be heard. As we know, many publishers are writers themselves.

Thank you to the editors who help make my work better.

Thank you to our arts organizations and funders. Again, many of the people working to meet our arts and cultural needs are writers and artists themselves.

Thank you to those who give me paying work.

Thank you to the writing community and larger arts community for welcoming me, supporting me, and helping me grow.

Thank you to the readers, listeners, and viewers.

Thank you to my neighbours.

Thank you to my friends.

Thank you to my family as always.

Thank you to H for everything.

Thank you to those who believe I can do this job. I’ll do my best.

My term begins on April Fools’ Day.

I'm grateful for the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Program and all that it has contributed to our province and beyond since its inception. I know and have great respect for Glen Sorestad, Louise B. Halfe, Robert Currie, Donald Kerr, Judith Krause, and Gerald Hill. Each brought the fullness of who they are to the role, and their vision, energy, and generosity left me feeling energized and excited about who we are and how alive this place is. That helped me grow as a writer, artist, and person. Thank you to each one of them for setting wonderful examples and setting the bar impossibly high. But I'm a poet and, like most poets I know, I'll try and keep trying. I'll keep jumping for as long as I can jump.