Allow Me To Introduce Myself....
On Canada Day July 1st 1994 I was formally invested by the Commissioner of the Yukon and became the first official Yukon poet laureate, the first officially-invested poet laureate in Canada, and the only non-British invested poet laureate in the world. On that day I was also given the title “Poet Laureate of the Yukon” and presented with a signed official proclamation and the official “Poet Laureate of the Yukon” pin as my insignia. I was also presented with my personal symbol of office the carved Talking Stick by former Yukon MP Audrey McLaughlin. My official title is: pj johnson Poet Laureate of the Yukon.
The daughter of a Yukon trapper, I am also known as "The Yukon Raven Lady" and a self-proclaimed "Raven Maniac" who led a successful campaign to have my personal symbol and spirit guide the northern raven declared the official symbol of the Yukon in 1985.
As a passionate animal rights advocate I have dedicated a section of this website to honouring and protecting the creatures with whom we share this planet. At present I am campaigning to have the two brutal 1,000-mile sled dog races permanently banned due the on-going inhumane treatment of the sled dogs. More at: 2020 Yukon Quest!
I have been active in the arts for many years as a musician/composer, actress, poet, playwright, photographer, performance artist, creative mentor and Yukon ambassador. As a storyteller of the oral tradition my poems stories and songs have been televised and performed nationally and globally and published widely and translated into Greek, Polish, and Italian. Many of my original creative works have been performed live and televised at various local and national venues.
In 1992 as an annual performer at the Yukon International Storytelling Festival I composed and produced the play "Dance of the Northern Lights" and was invited to perform it at the National Gallery of Canada and the Astrolabe Theatre in Ottawa. My performances have also been featured on a variety of national television and radio programs such as CTV's "Canada AM", CBC's "Midday", ABC's "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!", Peter Gzowski's "Morningside" and WTN's "Lifestyles" Network. Examples of my creative works and links to recent magazine interviews in national publications can be viewed on this website and also on various social media sites online.
I have a condition called Nonverbal Learning Disorder or NLD which is a visual learning disability and basically means that I don’t learn by reading. Reading is for me a necessary evil. When dealing with any kind of written or printed text I am limited considerably which is also why the majority of my creative works have been presented via live performance and I tend to refer to myself as a storyteller.
My first influence as an artist was listening to the elders talk story in the oral storytelling tradition. As a person with a learning disability I have often said that when attempting to comprehend written text the words often swim around on the page like so many fish - but when the storyteller speaks I understand implicitly. And so it is that the majority of my creative works have been presented via live performance and I tend to refer to myself as a storyteller rather than a writer. I also speak about my journey with NLD to encourage others who have a learning disability to realize that they can still pursue their dreams. More at: About My NLD....
My first book "I Sing Yukon", a small collection of my earliest poems, stories and anecdotes, was published in 1982 and is now out of print. A second book "Rhymes Of The Raven Lady", published by Hancock House in 1995, was basically a reprint of “I Sing Yukon”.
My most recent book “it’s howlin’ time!” is a collection of poems, stories and photographs chronicling the life and times of a northern Canadian poet laureate. Published in celebration of my 25th year as the Poet Laureate of the Yukon. Available at Mac's Fireweed Books www.macsbooks.ca/ Chapters Indigo in Whitehorse https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/ and on Amazon https://amzn.to/2Ak3Qjramzn.to/2Ak3Qjr
I am presently composing and producing and am interested in collaborating and networking with other vocalists, musicians, photographers and filmmakers. I also enjoy facilitating creative workshops and serving as a mentor to aspiring creative artists. I administrate an online group on Facebook called Poets & Scribes Worldwide that serves as a forum for writers and storytellers to share their creative works and network with other artists. Click here to join us. ~~> Poets & Scribes Worldwide
Thanks for dropping by. Be sure to come back often.
*This site will be regularly updated. Videos can also be viewed on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheYukonraven