Poet Laureate Di Brandt
This year, Di Brandt has been busy and we look forward to seeing what she will accomplish during the balance of her tenure, which concludes at the end of 2019. Here are some of her projects as the Poet Laureate of Winnipeg in her first year.
One of Di’s first poems was written as a tribute poem for Tricia Wasney, the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Outgoing Manager of Public Art. quirky luminous public art was presented at the WAC Holiday Party. Di read at the Speaking Crow Open Mic Reading Series, and emceed a poetry event for guest writer Marilyn Dumont. Last March, she conceived of and hosted World Poetry Day, Poetry in Many Languages. The event featured seventeen Winnipeg citizens reading their favourite poem in the language of their heritage. Readers included city councillor Jenny Gerbasi, CBC radio host Ismaila Alfa and Prairie Fire editor Andris Taskans.
Last April, National Poetry Month invited Di to submit a poem as the Poet Laureate for the Winnipeg Free Press poetry feature. At the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts and the Winnipeg Arts Council awards in June, she presented Winnipeg Pedestrian Blues: Thirteen Ways of Crossing Portage & Main, which was written for this occasion.
Last July, she read at Ross House Museum in North Point Douglas and in September, she presented Three Poems for Winnipeg, at the THIN AIR Winnipeg International Writers Festival, as part of the Opening Night, the Poetry Bash, and the Poetry Jazz evening at the end of the Festival. The poems are titled USASA, Amur Trees; Mid-afternoon benediction; and Lhazuward.
Di is working on a poetry-themed public art project and planning another World Poetry Day, Poetry in Many Languages event in March 2019.
About Di Brandt
Di Brandt is a multiple award-winning poet, author and editor. Her poetry titles include the bestselling questions i asked my mother (Gerald Lampert Award, nominated for the Dillons Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Governor General's Award for Poetry), Agnes in the Sky (McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year), Now You Care (shortlisted for the Trillium Ontario Book of the Year Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Pat Lowther Award), and the multi-language collection, Walking to Mojacar, with French and Spanish translations by Charles Leblanc and Ari Belathar (nominated for the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year). She co-edited the critical anthology Wider Boundaries of Daring: The Modernist Impulse in Canadian Women's Poetry with Barbara Godard (Gabrielle Roy Prize, nominated for the Canada Prize in the Humanities). Her most recent publication is Glitter & fall: Laozi's Dao De Jing, Trans_inha_lations. Di Brandt is honoured to serve as Winnipeg's inaugural Poet Laureate (2018-2019).
Photos by Lindsey Bond