When asked why she writes verse, Laurie D. Graham replied “writing poetry is somewhat like playing a musical instrument… listening to it can knock you on your ass.”

With two poetry collections published, Laurie has indeed been knocking people down with her mastery of the form. Her first collection, Rove, was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poetry in Canada. Her latest work, Settler Education, compiles poems that were shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize and won The Puritan’s Thomas Morton Memorial Prize for Poetry. Place and origin play a large role in Laurie’s work. In Settler Education, she vividly explores the Plains Cree uprising at Frog Lake — the death of nine settlers, the hanging of six Cree warriors, the imprisonment of Big Bear, and the opening of the Prairies to unfettered settlement. Margaret Atwood called the book “a tone-perfect elegiac meditation on the impossibility of engaging with painful history and the necessity of doing so.”

Laurie holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria and an MFA from the University of Guelph. She is editor of Brick, A Literary Journal, as well as an instructor at Fanshawe College. She grew up in Sherwood Park, Alberta, and now lives in London, Ontario.

She was asked whether she has considered writing in other genres, and replied, “There’s a good chunk of a novel sitting on my computer that I keep adding to. One day I’ll get that sorted out.” We look forward to the day!

Appearing in: 40. A Quartet of Poets