Janet Rogers


Janet Rogers is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations band in Ontario. She was born in Vancouver and has been living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people in Victoria, British Columbia, since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, spoken-word performance poetry, video poetry, recorded poetry with music, and script writing. From 2012 to 2014, Janet served as Poet Laureate of Victoria.

Janet has published three poetry collections to date: Splitting the Heart (Ekstasis Editions, 2007), Red Erotic (Ojistah, 2010), and Unearthed (Leaf Press, 2011). Her poetry CDs Firewater (2009), Got Your Back (2012), and 6 Directions (2013) all received ­nominations for Best Spoken Word Recording at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, and the Native American Music Awards.

Janet hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV and Tribal Clefs on CBC Radio One in Victoria. Her radio documentaries Bring Your Drum: 50 Years of Indigenous Protest Music and Resonating Reconciliation won Best Radio at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media festival in 2011 and 2013. 

Ikkwenyes or Dare to Do is the name of the collective ­Mohawk poet Alex Jacobs and Janet created in 2011. Ikkwenyes won the Canada Council for the Arts Collaborative Exchange Award in 2012 and a Loft Literary Prize in 2013.


all language is emotional
passion inside compassion
proclamations of home
and heart
real as hunger
and love

something as expansive
as the blank page
never shifts from
Caucasian protagonist
playing both hero
and victim

in triangulations
jockeying for position
is academic sport
treating each moment
like a photo op

there will always be
things we don’t know
a secret, a lesson
yet to happen
a lie waiting

whole histories of this

violence is the language
of unintelligence
a child conceived in
fear and sadness
methods to assert
the negotiations
never go well

genius is “He”
who invented
alcohol and guns
setting the stage
where no good
can come

an eye for an eye
crying is kept
in private
the purging of feelings
are small victories
personal and inevitable
fire fuel
lifting light

  • A new poem from Janet Rogers