Janet Rogers on why you should read the poetry collection Burning in This Midnight Dream

Every day in June, an Indigenous writer will recommend a book they love by a First Nations, Métis or Inuit author from Canada.
Janet Rogers is the author of the poetry collection Totem Poles & Railroads. (Janet Rogers/Coteau Books)

June is Indigenous Book Club Month. CBC Books will publish a recommendation each day from an Indigenous writer for a book written by another Indigenous author. 

Janet Rogers recommends Burning in This Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe.

"A maven of language; her own Cree language and English poetics, Louise Halfe writes from a place of honour and integrity and that is constant. She has, in the past played with characters of her legends twisting them into experimental pieces creating new stories from her unique place of cultural authority. In Burning in This Midnight Dream, Halfe shares with us her bravest work to date. She has dug out, from deep inside herself, the cancerous and disturbing tissue from where her dysfunctional realities are born. It is a poetry collection of residential school experiences that inspires understanding, shocks with satisfying truth and opens our own wounds for healing to begin. Louise Bernice Halfe is a matriarch of Indigenous literature and is an 'Auntie' to many Indigenous writers who have come after her. With this collection she continues to lead, and provide permission for us all to do the extremely hard work necessary to put ourselves back together after colonial disturbances. I asked Louise who she thought she would be if our Indigenous realities weren't disrupted, and she replied 'I'd be a very good savage.'"

Janet is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations. She was born in Vancouver and has lived as a guest on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria, B.C.) since 1994. Her fifth poetry collection, Totem Poles & Railroads, was released in 2017.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?