About

Brenda Schmidt is a writer and visual artist based in Creighton, a mining town on the Canadian Shield in northern Saskatchewan. Author of four books of poetry and a book of essays, her work has been published, performed, shown and broadcast across Canada and was recently part of a poetry installation at the University of Exeter (UK). She was the associate poetry editor for Grain (Fall 2015), the 2011 Mackie Lake House writer-in-residence (BC), a featured writer at the 2011 Talking Fresh conference at Luther College at the University of Regina (SK), a faculty member at the Fernie Writers Conference in 2007 and 2008 (BC), a featured writer at Writers West at Okanagan College in 2006 (BC), a poetry workshop leader (BC), three-day nonfiction workshop leader (St. Peter's College, 2016), a reviewer of fiction, poetry and nonfiction for Quill & Quire, a manuscript evaluator for the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild, a juror for provincial and national arts organizations, and has served on the board of directors for the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild and currently for the Sage Hill Writing Experience. She is one of the artists featured in the book Celebrating Saskatchewan Artists (Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, 2006). Brenda was finalist for the Saskatchewan Book Award for poetry in 2001, winner of the Alfred G. Bailey Prize for poetry in 2003 and a finalist for the CBC Literary Award for poetry several times. Her latest book of poems Grid was published by Hagios Press in 2012. Flight Calls: An Apprentice on the Art of Listening, a book of essays, was published in 2012 by Kalamalka Press as part of the Mackie Lecture and Reading Series. Grid and Flight Calls were both shortlisted for the 2013 Saskatchewan Book Awards. Brenda was also shortlisted for the 2013 Lieutenant Governor's Arts Award for Saskatchewan Artist. Work from her new projects has been published in The Society, Canadian Poetries, The Winnipeg ReviewThe Puritan, and is included in The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2015 (Tightrope Books) and Line Dance (Burton House Books, 2016). She founded the Ore Samples Writers Series in 2016. In 2017, she became the seventh Saskatchewan Poet Laureate.

Brenda grew up on a farm in the Coteau Hills of Saskatchewan. A former nurse, she also has a BA, English, from the University of Waterloo. While living in the north, she worked for a time as a freelance reporter and photographer, wrote a birding column and volunteered in a recycling centre. Brenda's writing and painting processes have always been closely linked. Her paintings hung in solo and group exhibitions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the 1990s. Lately she has been focused on bringing poetry into digital and multimedia work.  Much of the work comes out of road trips and time spent wandering down the backroads. A birder and long-time member of Nature Saskatchewan, she’s been actively involved in citizen science projects for many years. She has been the compiler for the annual Creighton Christmas Bird Count since its inception and is one of the volunteers who stand in the dark each spring listening for owls for the Saskatchewan Nocturnal Owl Survey. A heavy blanket of stars and northern lights are just a few perks of the job. 

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