In this new edition of her powerful debut, Plains Cree writer and National Poet Laureate Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer reckons with personal history within cultural genocide.
Employing Indigenous spirituality, black comedy, and the memories of her own childhood as healing arts, celebrated poet Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer finds an irrepressible source of strength and dignity in her people. Bear Bones and Feathers offers moving portraits of Halfe's grandmother (a medicine woman whose life straddled old and new worlds), her parents (both trapped in a cycle of jealousy and abuse), and the people whose pain she witnessed on the reserve and at residential school.
Originally published by Coteau Books in 1994, Bear Bones and Feathers won the Milton Acorn People's Poet Award, and was a finalist for the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award, the Pat Lowther Award, and the Gerald Lampert Award.
Louise Bernice Halfe — Sky Dancer was raised on Saddle Lake Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School. Her first book, Bear Bones & Feathers, received the 1996 Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award and was a finalist for the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award, the Pat Lowther Award, and the Gerald Lampert Award. Blue Marrow was a finalist for the 1998 Governor General's Award for Poetry. The Crooked Good won the First Peoples' Publishing Award and the Saskatoon Book Award in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award. Her fourth book, Burning in This Midnight Dream, won the 2017 Saskatchewan Book Award and the Raymond Souster Award, among numerous other awards. In 2018, as part of the Laurier Poetry Series, her previously published works were compiled in Sôhkêyihta: The Poetry of Sky Dancer Louise Bernice Halfe (edited by David Gaertner). Her latest book is awâsis — kinky and dishevelled. Halfe was Saskatchewan's Poet Laureate for 2005-2006, was awarded the Latner Writers Trust Award for her body of work in 2017, and was awarded the 2020 Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence. She trained at Nechi Institute as a facilitator, has a Bachelor of Social Work, was granted a lifetime membership in the League of Canadian Poets, and has received three honorary doctorates. In January of 2021, Louise was selected to be Canada's 9th Parliamentary Poet Laureate, serving until December 2022. She currently works with Elders in the organization Opikinawasowin ("raising our children") and lives on the Prairies with her husband, Peter.
"With gentleness, old woman's humour, and a good red willow switch, Louise chases out the shadowy images that haunt our lives. She makes good medicine, she sings a beautiful song." — Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed