Story and photo from The Reminder.

One busy year has ended for Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Brenda Schmidt and another one is right around the corner. Schmidt, who is based in Creighton, began a two-year term as Saskatchewan’s official poet in January. In her new position, Schmidt has hardly had any time to rest.

“It’s going great. I’ve been on the go a lot and the year just flew by,” she said. “It’s really exciting to look back on everything I was able to participate in, all the people I’ve met and connected with. It’s been a really exciting year.”

The list of events Schmidt attended as poet laureate in the past year is a long one, extending throughout the province and the country. “I was fully booked for the year, which was awesome. Every event that I attended had its own special, exciting elements,” said Schmidt. Schmidt recently finished up her annual report, detailing every stop she made. Some spots stuck out, including the Art in the Park festival in Rockglen, Sask.

“I had never been there before. It’s so beautiful,” she said. “It’s a wonderful arts event. I had a lot of fun there.”

Another event that came to mind for Schmidt was the 25th anniversary of the Wild Rice Writers Group, held in La Ronge.

“That was great, to have an event in the north and to take part in something in the north,” she said.

Outside Saskatchewan, Schmidt partook in the annual meeting of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta in Edmonton, giving a presentation about Saskatchewan literature.

Schmidt also attended the Laureate City event at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, doing a reading and meeting other poets laureate from across Canada.

“It was an amazing event and such a great place,” said Schmidt, who heaped praise on the arts centre’s performance space.

“When you perform, when you have great sound, you can feel it and you can feel your audience. It was such a magical time. There were laureates all over the country, some people I’ve met before and some people I’ve met for the first time. It was really a generative event – you share ideas and you talk about your experiences as laureates, the things you mean to do. It was a great event to connect at.”

The Saskatchewan Arts Board covered expenses for Schmidt’s travel.

Throughout her own hectic travel schedule, Schmidt still found time to write. In fact, she found enough time to write a book, which will be published in May. One of Schmidt’s pieces was also selected in the tenth edition of The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, an anthology that includes writers like Michael Ondaatje and George Elliot Clarke.

“I’ve been working on that too. I guess that’s why the year really flew,” she said.

Schmidt’s term as poet laureate ends next December. Over the second year of her term, she plans to use her writing and social media to continue championing the province’s culture, literature and nature – one of her favourite subjects.

“That’s part of the poet laureate’s job – it’s celebrating the people and place. That’s something I feel right at home doing,” she said. “I’m a naturalist and I’m out there all the time. It’s exciting to share and it’s exciting to have a platform on which you can share all your pictures and experiences with other people.”

Commencing in 2000, the Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Program was the first provincial program of its kind in Canada. The Saskatchewan Arts Board, Saskatchewan Book Awards, and the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild are partners in the program, which is under the patronage of the Lieutenant Governor, Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield.