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Poetry Indigenous

North End Love Songs

by (author) Katherena Vermette

J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing
Initial publish date
Mar 2012
Indigenous, Places, Women Authors
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2012
    List Price

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Katherena Vermette's award-winning poetry collection North End Love Songs is an ode to the place she grew up, where the beauty of the natural world is overlaid with the rough reality of crime and racism. When a young girl’s brother goes missing, she learns what prejudice and discrimination mean, as the police and the media dismiss his disappearance because he is young and Indigenous.

Read alone, or as a companion to Vermette's award-winning novel, The Break and its follow-up, The Strangers, North End Love Songs is a moving tribute to the people who make the North End their home.

About the author

KATHERENA VERMETTE is a Métis writer from Treaty One territory, the heart of the Métis nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses Company), won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her National Film Board short documentary, this river, won the Coup de Coeur award at the Montreal First Peoples Festival and a Canadian Screen Award.

Her first novel, The Break, was a national bestseller and won the First Novel Award; the Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature; and three Manitoba Book Awards. It was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and CBC’s Canada Reads. She is also the author of the children’s picture book series The Seven Teaching Stories and recently published the first book, Pemmican Wars, in the young adult book series A Girl Called Echo. Ms. Vermette’s second book of poetry, river woman, is forthcoming in the fall of 2018 from House of Anansi Press.

Katherena Vermette's profile page


  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry

Editorial Reviews

"In North End Love Songs, Katherena Vermette uses spare language and brief, telling sketches to illuminate the aviary of a prairie neighbourhood. Vermette's love songs are unconventional and imminent, an examination and a celebration of family and community in all weathers, the beautiful as well as the less clement conditions. This collection is a very moving tribute, to the girls and the women, the boys and the men, and the loving trouble that has forever transpired between us." -- Joanne Arnott

"From a mixed-blood Metis woman with Mennonite roots, Kate weaves a story that winds its way through the north end (Nor-tend) of Winnipeg. It’s a story of death, birth, survival, beauty and ugliness; through it all there are glimmers of hope, strength, and a will to survive whatever this city throws at you." --Duncan Mercredi

User Reviews

A worthy prize winner

This is an excellent companion to Vermette's novel, The Break. In fact, the first poem is very reminiscent of a scene in the novel. But, even without the novel, it's a wonderful collection. I particularly loved the section titled "November," which is a sad and beautiful tribute to a lost brother. Her poems dive into the hard truths of the neighborhood and the reality of being native in Canada.

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