Winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry
For Katherena Vermette, Winnipeg’s North End is a neighbourhood of colourful birds, stately elms, and always wily rivers. It is where a brother’s disappearance is trivialized by local media and police because he is young and aboriginal. It is also where young girls share secrets, movies, cigarettes, Big Gulps and stories of love–where a young mother full of both maternal trepidation and joy watches her small daughters as they play in the park.
News & Reviews
“In North End Love Songs, Katherena Vermette uses spare language and brief, telling sketches to illuminate the aviary of a prairie neighbourhood. Vermette’s love songs are unconventional and imminent, an examination and a celebration of family and community in all weathers, the beautiful as well as the less clement conditions. This collection is a very moving tribute, to the girls and the women, the boys and the men, and the loving trouble that has forever transpired between us.” — Joanne Arnott
“From a mixed-blood Metis woman with Mennonite roots, Kate weaves a story that winds its way through the north end (Nor-tend) of Winnipeg. It’s a story of death, birth, survival, beauty and ugliness; through it all there are glimmers of hope, strength, and a will to survive whatever this city throws at you.” –Duncan Mercredi
“North End Love Songs, Vermette’s first solo collection of poems, offers vivid depictions of past and present in Winnipeg’s diverse neighbourhood, its flora and fauna (especially birds) and the voices of Indigenous women.” —Winnipeg Free Press
About the Author
Katherena Vermette is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation. She has worked in poetry, novels, children’s literature, and film. Katherena’s father’s roots run deep in St. Boniface, St. Norbert, and beyond, dating back over two centuries. Her mother’s side is Mennonite from the Altona and Rosenfeld area (Treaty 1). Vermette received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her first book, North End Love Songs. Her novel The Break won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and her National Film Board documentary, this river, won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Short. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. Katherine lives in Winnipeg.