Katherena Vermette

biopic04

Katherena Vermette is a Métis writer of poetry, fiction and children’s literature. Her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses’ Company) won the 2013 Governor General Literary Award for Poetry. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in several literary magazines and anthologies, including Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, and lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

A proud member of the Indigenous Writers Collective since 2004, Vermette helped organize the Manitoba Indigenous Writers Festivals in 2012 and 2014.
 She is a sought-after instructor and arts workshop leader, and has experience teaching creative development, Indigenous culture and literature, and all types of writing to groups big and small, and of all ages. She used to be a pre-school teacher. When not being a writer or educator, she coordinates arts programs in Winnipeg. She is also working on a new collection of poetry, a novel, and perfecting her moon salutations.
 Her newest project, The Seven Teachings Stories is a seven volume children’s picture book series (Highwater Press). The first four books are now available. The last three will be launched in early 2015. 
Vermette has two teenaged daughters, two cats, a small dog, a fiancé and they all live together in a cranky old house within skipping distance of the temperamental Red River.


THINGS SHE DOES THE DAY BEFORE THE WAKE

picks out a dress a long one
to hide her thighs floral not black

sits in the big orange chair with legs hugged
into her chest
watches night come streetlights turn on

slowly

writes a short
rhyming poem
that starts with the lines: shed a tear for days passed by for all the times now gone starts every line with
shed a tear
prints it out
slowly
in pencil
erases
and fixes until
the paper is soft
with rubbing

gets a phone call
from a boy her friend likes
a boy from her brother’s school he offers
his condolences
he calls them
when he asks her

  • Katherena Vermette from North End Love Songs, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing 2012