On September 12 2021 I featured at an event called Poetic Justice.

The following post is a review of my performance written by fellow scribe Brenda Damen. 

 

September 15 2021: *When a writer of such caliber gifts you with an amazing review like this one your heart swells with gratitude. Her name is Brenda Damen and I am proud to call her my friend. #Yukon #Calgary #writers Poetic Justice

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September 15 2021: My poem "because i am a sled dog" translated into Bengali by my dear friend Mahua Das! ~~> https://bit.ly/3Cvz4z1 <~~

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Recently two of my poems: "dwight' in honour of my late brother, and "it was the land", in honour of children found buried on the grounds of residential schools in Canada - were deleted and disallowed by the admins of a few Facebook writer's groups. No reason given even though they had a few likes and favourable comments. I won't mention names.
 
I am pleased to say that those same two poems have just been published in an anthology published by the New York Parrot. Special thanks to Mutiu Olawuyi and Dustin Pickering. Bravo! #yukon #PoetLaureate #newyork #anthology #censorship
 

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August 5 2021


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"There are many reasons why I write. I write when my life is on fire and I'm on top of the world. I write when I'm on my knees and my heart is broken. I write to transcend adversity and I write about things I feel strongly about. I write because I have to . It's that strong in me. At times it's like a kind of prayer. Other times a kind of therapy."

©pj johnson Yukon August 30 2021

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August 30 2021:

My poem "reclaiming" in Farsi (Persian). Translated by Mansour Noorbakhsh.



Read more: https://www.yukonpoetlaureate.com/copy-news/

August 30 2021:

My poem "reclaiming" in Farsi (Persian). Translated by Mansour Noorbakhsh.


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On Monday night August 30 at 8 pm ET (Toronto time) I will be featured on the Ottawa Persian Radio Program. My friend and host Mansour Noorbakhsh will translate and read my poem "reclaiming" in Farsi. *Join us there! #Yukon #PoetLaureate #Ottawa #OttawaEvents

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August 28 2021: My poem "because I am a sled dog" translated into Bengali. *Translation by Mahua Das. *View the video! youtu.be/Ym3IFjfiIQQ

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August 26 2021: My Song "FOOTPRINTS" translated into Greek by Eva Petropoylou Lianoy. #yukon #greece

https://youtu.be/AxzB90nVGzk

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Sunday August 22 2021: Just saw this Tweet quoting me about my journey as a writer - from the book "it's howlin' time!". Thanks Ron!


Read more: https://www.yukonpoetlaureate.com/copy-news/
Sunday August 22 2021: Just saw this Tweet quoting me about my journey as a writer - from the book "it's howlin' time!". Thanks Ron!

 

In 1995 I was commissioned to write a song to welcome the RCMP Musical Ride to Whitehorse on their first trip to the Yukon. I performed the song I wrote called "Colour Me Canadian" on Canada Day in 1995 and again in 2017 when they returned to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.

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"it was the land" Live performance July 19 2021

July 12 2021:

As poet laureate of the Yukon I am honoured to be featured at this online event hosted by Owen Sound's poet laureate Richard-Yves Sitoski on Thursday July 15th. You are cordially invited to join us at https://www.facebook.com/events/994537597963812/

~ pj johnson Yukon #PoetLaureate of the #Yukon



Read more: https://www.yukonpoetlaureate.com/copy-news/

July 12 2021:

As poet laureate of the Yukon I am honoured to be featured at this online event hosted by Owen Sound's poet laureate Richard-Yves Sitoski on Thursday July 15th. You are cordially invited to join us at https://www.facebook.com/events/994537597963812/

~ pj johnson Yukon #PoetLaureate of the #Yukon

 

Canada Day 2021: Twenty-seven years ago today I was invested as Canada's first poet laureate. It was a happy day. Canada Day July 1st 2021 is very different. It is the recognition of my country’s 153rd anniversary combined with a day of deep reflection as I and my fellow Canadians struggle to come to terms with the ongoing discovery of unmarked graves on the grounds of residential schools in Canada. In honour of those who never returned home I have written a poem called "it was the land".

#Yukon #Canada #EveryChildMatters #ResidentialSchools #CanadaDay2021

                                                

it was the land

 

no one knew the evil men could do

behind closed doors

no one spoke of it

no one said sorry

and in the end

it was the land

the very land itself

that spoke

 

it was the land

that carried the secrets

that knew the truth

that yielded a million sorrows

that stopped us like a thunderbolt

in the streets.

god forgive us

the whispers were true

 

it was the land that spoke for thousands

denied a life. denied a family

denied a mother tongue

and as our grief-filled days

stretched out before us 

like a blanket of fear

from the land of the Mi’kmaq to Haida Gwaii

we were numb with disbelief

 

for it was the land

the very land itself

that spoke to us in the darkness

in the sacred smoke of our ancestors

and in the voices of our children

who whispered on the wind

guiding us

showing us the way

 

telling us

there will be a time

for coming together

as a nation. as a people. and as a family

to celebrate now

and lift our brothers and sisters

as never before

                   our tears are never far from the surface

 

                   it always gets darker before the light comes back

                                                

                   ©pj johnsonYukon June 24 2021

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June 28 2021: The sudden advent of the Europeans in North America was a shock to the first peoples who had little or no resistance to diseases like tuberculosis or mind-altering substances like alcohol. When you take the people off the land and put them into a residential school you get disaster. The trauma is generational and it affects my family. This poem is an adaptation of an old genocidal nursery rhyme still used in some classrooms as a song to teach children how to count. *From my book "it's howlin' time!" https://amzn.to/2U5fDMm #Yukon #Canada

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 June 21 2021: A poem in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day from the Land of the Wolf & Crow. #Yukon #Solstice #FirstNations #Canada #IndigenousPeoplesDay

June 14 2021: I was recently honoured to be featured on the 100th episode of the New York Parrot Literary Corner along with host Dustin Pickering. 

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June 5 2021
 
This is a song I wrote in 1993. I introduced it by saying: "The mission school. Very often that was a place a child entered with a pure heart and left with a broken spirit."
 
We are now learning that many never left.
 
As one who was taken away by the government I can tell you the wounds are deep.
 
Some scars never heal.
 
 

From the book "it's howlin' time!" amzn.to/3fW64HS

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June 3 2021:

Sometimes there just aren't enough tears.

#kamloops #allchildrenmatter #yukon

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Remembering Former Yukon Commissioner Doug Bell

I was sad to learn of the recent passing of my good friend former Yukon Commissioner Doug Bell. In 1985 he invited me to sit at his desk and sign a copy of my first little book “I Sing Yukon” and sent it to Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne. Commissioner Bell later received a message from the palace thanking ‘Mr P. Johnson’ for the book. Doug and I had a good laugh. No one gets my name right.

R.I.P. my friend and thank you for your service. #yukon

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April 21 2021: Land of the Wolf and Crow

Inspired by well-known and greatly respected Yukon elder Elijah Smith’s long struggle to bring about a Yukon native land claim settlement, I wrote this poem in 1986. I called it “reclaiming” because you cannot claim something that is already yours. You can only reclaim it. The final land claims agreement was signed seven years later in 1993. *Published in Dan Sha Magazine in 1988.

 

In the Yukon there are two first nations clans – the Wolf Clan and the Crow Clan so the Yukon is sometimes called Land of the Wolf and Crow. Raven (crow) is my spirit guide and I am also known as the Yukon Raven Lady.

  

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Rhymes of the Raven Lady was basically a re-print of my first book "I Sing Yukon" published in 1984. The cover, painted prior to my investiture by William Sinclair hence no official insignia on my Stetson, portrays Wolf & Crow (raven) representing the two Yukon First Nations clans. I'm also known as the Yukon Raven Lady. #yukon #worldpoetrymonth #poetrycommunity   

 

IN HONOUR OF NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

A rare photograph of my investiture in Whitehorse on Canada Day July 1st 1994 when I became the first Canadian poet laureate - standing behind former Yukon Commissioner John Kenneth McKinnon as he reads the official proclamation naming me Poet Laureate of the Yukon. Audrey McLaughlin, former leader of the NDP (seated) also presented me with my personal symbol of office the carved Talking Stick.

The Cerimony

Leaving the stage carrying the Talking Stick

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I MAY BE THE DAUGHTER OF A YUKON TRAPPER BUT....

Queen Elizabeth set a great example when she quit wearing fur. I am the daughter of a Yukon trapper but I never trapped a day in my life. In today's world no animal should ever have to  suffer & die just so someone can walk down a catwalk wearing its pelt.

#yukon #animalrights #allbeingsmatter #banfur

 

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March 28 2021

When ur dog wants to share his blankie.

He is my comfort. - Sometimes all you really need is a blankie.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH? CENSORSHIP? FACEBOOK?

Anyone wishing to sign the petition opposing the ban on this website please click here ~~>

www.change.org/p/facebook-facebook-is-banning-the-yukon-poet-laureate

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March 23 2021 Canadian Poets Laureate speak out for the protection of old-growth forests.

I am honoured to be a part of this. There is a better way.

 

March 21 2021:

In honour of World Poetry Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racism ~ "dwight" a poem by pj johnson Poet Laureate of the Yukon. *Click the pic to hear the poem.

March 14 2021:

Sincere thanks for the many birthday messages! My inbox is overflowing. Navigating Messenger can be difficult due to my NLD but it's clear that while I may not have a ton of money I am rich in friends! ~ pj & Doc waving from the Yukon! #yukon #gratitude #thankyou

*The portrait behind Doc & I was painted by Yukon artist William Sinclair prior to my investiture as Poet Laureate of the Yukon on July 1st 1994 - hence my Stetson bears no official insignia pin. *Today as I celebrate another trip around the sun I ask friends to make a donation to the petition to protect the Northern sled dogs. Thank You.


Read more: https://www.yukonpoetlaureate.com/copy-news/

March 13 2021:

*The portrait behind Doc & I was painted by Yukon artist William Sinclair prior to my investiture as Poet Laureate of the Yukon on July 1st 1994 - hence my Stetson bears no official insignia pin. *Today as I celebrate another trip around the sun I ask friends to make a donation to the petition to protect the Northern sled dogs. Thank You. ~~> https://bit.ly/3vie4IW <~~

At this time of year the foxes, lynx bears, wolves and coyotes start to prowl around the Yukon. Sometimes I hold my phone out the back door when the coyotes are out there yip-yapping. These are from a band that camps by a creek near my place.
 
We all need to stand up and speak out to protect the precious creatures with whom we share this planet. When you speak for those who have no voice your soul smiles. - pj johnson Poet Laureate of the Yukon

 

 

 

An interview on CIUT FM featuring pj johnson Poet Laureate of the Yukon.

 

January 1 2021

 

Songwriters are some of the most accomplished poets and Canada has some of the finest.

 

Poetry requires a precision of the written word

while music is a universal expression of spirit.

When put together you get magic.

Let us celebrate the writers of song who bring us light.

 

the writers of song

 

today i celebrate the artists

who bring us new hope

and help us to keep hope alive

when we need it the most

 

the crafters of words and music

that move us to celebrate liberate and venerate

who speak for us when we have no words

and give us words to speak when we need them

 

who show us how to grieve and share our hearts

and when to speak and when to be silent

how to laugh and when to cry

when to sing and how to fly

 

these are the makers of the songs that paint our lives

and gift us with sweet memories

that fill our hearts when they are empty

and show us how to fall in love

 

these are the maestros

the weavers of story the healers of hearts

some of the finest poets who ever dared

to pick up a pen

 

they are the writers of song

and i salute them

please join me

 

©pj johnson Poet Laureate of the Yukon

December 31 2020

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