Anne Szumigalski Lecture Series

The 2022 Anne Szumigalski Lecture presents:

“Cyclical,” a ruminating lecture on aging and writing

presented by Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer

 

 

Louise Bernice Halfe-Sky Dancer | photo by David Stobbe / StobbePhoto.ca

Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer was raised on Saddle Lake Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School. Louise is married, has two adult children and three grandsons. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Regina. She also completed two years of Addictions Counselor Training at St. Albert’s Nechi Institute where she also facilitated the program. She served as Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate for two years and has traveled extensively for her poetics and to present at numerous conferences. Her books include, Bear Bones and Feathers, Blue Marrow, The Crooked Good, Burning In This Midnight Dream, Sohkeyihta, and awasis-kinky and dishevelled. She has received numerous accolades and awards including honorary doctorates from Wilfred Laurier University, the University of Saskatchewan, and Mount Royal University. She currently serves as the national Parliamentary Library Poet Laureate.

Louise also serves as an elder or knowledge keeper at the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Health Authority. She actively participates in cultural and ceremonial activities relevant to her Plains Cree culture.

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PAST LECTURERS

  • 2022 – Louise Bernice Halfe-Sky Dancer
  • 2019 – Billy-Ray Belcourt
  • 2018 – Alice Major
  • 2017 – Marilyn Dumont
  • 2015 – Gregory Scofield*
  • 2014 – Lillian Allen*
  • 2013 – A.F. Moritz*
  • 2012 – Robert Currie*
  • 2011 – Glen Sorestad*
  • 2010 – Anne Simpson*
  • 2009 – Marilyn Bowering*
  • 2008 – Don McKay*
  • 2007 – Mark Abley*
  • 2006 – Margaret Atwood*
  • 2005 – George Elliott Clarke*
  • 2004 – Anne Carson*
  • 2003 – Dionne Brand
  • 2002 – Tim Lilburn*

*Read these lectures in Measures of Astonishment

Anthology cover 2016MEASURES OF ASTONISHMENT: POETS ON POETRYthe Anne Szumigalski Lecture Series anthology.

In June 2016, we were proud to launch an anthology past Anne Szumigalski lectures as part of the Canadian Writers’ Summit. In partnership with the University of Regina Press. The anthology includes the lectures delivered annually by some of Canada’s most revered poets – Gregory Scofield, Lillian Allen, Tim Lilburn, Anne Carson, George Elliot Clarke, Margaret Atwood, Mark Abley, Don McKay, Marilyn Bowering, Anne Simpson, Glen Sorestad, Robert Currie, and A.F. Moritz.

Check out your local bookstore to purchase a copy, or grab one online through McNally Robinson or Indigo!

 

ABOUT THE LECTURES
The Anne Szumigalski Lecture Series is generously sponsored by Jacques Nolin and Jennifer Boire.

The Anne Szumigalski Lecture Series is hosted each year at the League’s annual conference, commemorating award-winning Saskatchewan poet Anne Szumigalski. The lectures began in 2002, a few years after Szumigalski’s death, and are modeled after the Margaret Laurence series of lectures by distinguished Canadian writers.  Szumigalski was a mentor to numerous prairie poets and much loved in the literary community, especially in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. She was a founder of both the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Writers Guilds, and helped establish the literary magazines Grain and Prairie Fire.

For Brick Books’ 40th anniversary celebration, David Waltner-Toews wrote a short post about Anne Szumigalski’s contribution to Canadian poetry and literature.

As a member of the Saskatoon Poets’ Group in the mid-1970s, what I remember most about Anne Szumigalski was her presence. We would sit down in a circle and read our poetry aloud to each other. I remember especially the times at Terry and Carolyn Heath’s on Clarence Avenue, a house in which my wife and I later lived, and in which my son was born. I remember Carolyn’s sharp, perceptive comments, but I remember Anne’s more gentle criticism, as if just by being there she called into question any humbug and pretence I might parade out. This was something new for me, and dangerous – to share works in progress and invite criticism from my peers. It was exactly what I needed.

David Waltner-Toews

 

The Anne Szumigalski Lecture Series, proposed by Regina poet Paul Wilson in 2001 and approved by the League’s National Council the same year, commemorates the award winning Saskatchewan poet, who died a few years earlier. Szumigalski was a mentor to numerous prairie poets and much loved in the literary community, especially in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. She was a founder of both the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Writers Guilds, and helped establish the literary magazines, Grain and Prairie Fire.

The lecture series was modeled after the Margaret Laurence series of lectures by distinguished Canadian writers, long held as part of the Writers’ Union of Canada’s annual general meetings.

Since its inception in 2002, The Anne Szumigalski Lecture Series  has been a rich and ongoing dialogue among poets: a dialogue because, taken together, the lectures present a room where we can stand in the  doorway and listen as Tim Lillburn, Anne Carson, George Elliot Clarke, Margaret Atwood, Mark Abley, Don McKay, Marilyn Bowering, Anne Simpson, Glen Sorestad, Robert Currie and A. F. Moritz discuss the art and craft of poetry.

Soon, with the publication of an anthology of the first 11 lectures, we will be invited into the room, and shown to a cozy chair where we can follow at our own pace, go back pause and puzzle, read again,  be delighted, challenged, invigorated, charmed and exhilarated by the thoughts and musings of some of Canada’s best poets.

This is a book for student and teacher alike; for beginning poets and those who have found their voice, but mostly it’s a book for all  of us who are wise enough and lucky enough to find —no, to take the time to be engaged by these lectures.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said: A mind, once stretched by an idea, can never return to the same shape.

If ever an anthology could bend us out of shape, it’s this one. I am pleased and honoured to have been part of its development.

–Mary Ellen Csamer