In the poet's words: Georgette LeBlanc on libraries, writing and poetry

Parliamentary poet laureate Georgette LeBlanc is pictured in the Library of Parliament on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, March 26, 2018. Georgette LeBlanc looks around the parliamentary library in the Centre Block and admits she was last in the building in high school. The Quebec poet will be spending a lot more time in this library over the next two years during her term as parliamentary poet laureate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - Georgette LeBlanc became Canada's eighth parliamentary poet laureate in January. During her two year-tenure, she will be expected to write poems for major events, sponsor poetry readings and advise the Library of Parliament on its cultural collection. Late last month, she spoke about her job, her writing, and poetry in the parliamentary library in the Centre Block. Here is a little of what she had to say.

Georgette LeBlanc on ...

...Libraries: "I like them. I enjoy them. What is it about the library? The library is where knowledge is stored, knowledge is kept — what we consider to be knowledge, and so it's kind of a big deal. It's something we hold sacred in some kind of way and we may take it for granted ... but in this sort of material culture, this space is important."

...Slowing down: "Taking the time — slowing down — really paying attention to small things or moments, events, feelings, emotions, human experience, so really just taking the time, slowing down and that's something ... we're not usually allowed to do or we just don't have time to. We're not given that opportunity."

...Poetry: "I'm in love with poetry and I've always been. It's so natural to me. It's the most natural thing for me, the most natural way of experiencing the world, of writing. It has also been a very demanding experience because you can love something to death, you can want to do it all the time, but you can't necessarily have it your way."

...Her poetry: "My poetry, my way of writing poetry, is trying to tell a story, I'm trying to show you something, or make you feel something. I'm trying to draw you into my world, so it's important for me to elicit some kind of response in the reader, positive or negative, but to tell a story."

...The writing process: "I've written something down then I'm taking the time to re-read it and to work it, to mould it, to sculpt it, and then to publish it, to share it with you. I find that a great responsibility, a wonderful responsibility, the opportunity to be able to do that, to share with the reader. I really care about the reader. I don't want to have you reading something that I don't really care about."


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