It’s a special treat to have Georgette as our guest this week. She is an accomplished poet with many publications available. Most recently she was chosen as the Poete Flyee for the 2019 Frye Festival. She is also the Poet Laureate for the Canadian Parliament. She has kindly agreed to a 4Q Interview.
Born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Georgette LeBlanc grew up in Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia. She holds a Doctorate in Francophone Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her published works include Alma (2007), Amédé (2010), Prudent (2013) (finalist for the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry), and most recently, Le Grand Feu (2016), published by Éditions Perce-Neige, where she edits the poetry collection Acadie tropicale. She has also collaborated on and contributed to theatrical, televisual and musical projects.
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4Q: Your most recent achievement and recognition is to have been chosen as the Poete Flyee. Please tell us about that experience.
GL: I was excited to be asked - honored really - to be this year's Poète flyée for this year's festival. The Poète flyée opens and closes the festival with readings of published or original poems written during the week. I have great memories of the Frye Festival and wanted to pay tribute to literature and the festival itself. I also really wanted to write about what the festival is and was for me - as a poetess - writer- i.e Northrop Frye himself - his thinking and his essays.
4Q: In December of 2017, you were selected for a two-year term as the Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate. This is another noteworthy achievement to be recognized for your talents. Please tell us about your responsibilities.
GL: I write! New poems and more new poems. I can be solicited by parliamentarians or members of the Senate to write poems for events or causes. I also have the right to decline these requests. I am also given the opportunity to continue pursuing my own creative projects. Incredible really. It's a two-year contract with the Library of Parliament - a formidable group of individuals.
4Q: Pleased share a childhood memory or anecdote.
GL: Both my father and mother loved book knowledge. My father took me to a book fair as a young girl at the local University. I remember walking in with him and being impressed by the quantity of books - in French - that was available. I also remember being extremely selective and difficult. It was strange. My father told me to pick anything - allowed me to roam and see for myself. It was great. I wanted to find something, anything, but nothing really fit.
Or maybe that's the day I found the Fantômette collection. One book.
In any case, he was always a little perplexed by my selectiveness but didn't push - I think about this when my own children tell me they don't like books. Ha!
4Q: You work mainly in French, the language of your birth. We understand that you are presently working on a bilingual collection of poems. Would you care to tell us about this?
GL: I didn't know I was writing a collection of bilingual poems! but this is a good idea because I am writing bilingual poems for the library. Truthfully, I'm a little spooked - writing short poems and actually publishing them on the website shortly thereafter is a very different writing experience. I'm writing a different kind of poem. I usually like to spend time with a story. I love building narrative. My books aren't collection of poems. All of them are written in free verse but read like novels - short novels. I like characters, narrative arcs and plot points. I want to tell you a story.
4Q: Anything else you’d like to tell us about?
GL: Thank you for caring about words and for your own work!
Thank you, Georgette, for being our guest this week.
Thank you to you wonderful readers and visitors. For those that would like to know more about this talented writer, please follow these links.