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Burning In This Midnight Dream

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In heart-wrenching detail, Louise Halfe recalls the damage done by the residential schools to her parents, her family, and herself in her new poetry collection.

Burning In This Midnight Dream is the latest collection of poems by Louise Bernice Halfe. Many were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth an
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Coteau Books
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Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Us NDNs have grown up to our grandmothers crying and our grandfathers stony silence. Our sweet Nokomis, Mishoom, what did they do to you in those schools? For years the following generations received no answers.

They often only encountered substance abuse, trauma, broken family and cultural ties, their sense of self and community slowly slipping slipping slipping away in the white mans current.

Burning in this Midnight Dream by Cree storyteller Louise Bernice Halfe is a poetry collection that both
A hole is hard to climb out of when there is nothing
to cling to
from the poem sipehkeytha/endure p26

LBH knows that hole well and she recreates her life in these strong words.In fact, the poems here form a poetic autobiography, illustrated by photographs of her large family, stark and challenging.

I found myself released from residential school yet
the four walls slithered everywhere I went. p5

from the poem masaskon/ stripped p5

All blessings to you gentle warrior
Carolyn Klassen
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some really beautiful poems in this collection. The highlights — the juxtaposition between natural landscapes and botanical descriptions and colonial structures and religion. As well, the writing is so nuanced in how it treats love / pain. Those we love hurt us most. Culture and trauma intertwined. Besides the content of the poetry, the verse itself was good but unremarkable. Which I don't mind, I'm much more content focused with poetry. ...more
Barbara McEwen
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, poetry
These poems cover many aspects of the author's life and experiences but what haunts you through the collection is the inter-generational trauma; how can anyone can deny the trauma we have caused to native people? I understand the desire to ignore and deny but this is impacting so many lives, we need help and make reparations for what we have done as colonizers. ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful and courageous collection of poetry by First Nations indigenous Canadian poet Louise Bernice Halfe. It quite has me reeling.
Katie Goulet
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Louise Bernice Halfe has shared some intensely intimate and difficult stories within her poetry and each and every poem is impactful, beautiful and intense. I feel lucky to have been able to read this collection.
This is my first time reading any poetry by Louise Bernice Halfe. This volume sparked my interest at the library, and I am incredibly glad I checked it out.

Burning In This Midnight Dream is filled with beautiful poems that recount the struggles of a person, a family, and a community in the aftermath of the Indian Residential School system, written as Halfe was going through the TRC process. The poems almost form a narrative, almost a poetic memoir. Many of them stand on their own, but most of th
Alex Knipp
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I want to know how I can bring beauty
and drink the nectar of delight.”

In this collection, Skydancer details the flood of memory and pain following her hearing for the Truth and Reconciliation Council on the splintered abuse of the Residential School system and its lasting impact on indigenous peoples. It is full of heart and suffering, but she still seeks to bring the light with her - a powerful testament in the face of decades of systematic wrongdoings to the native people of Canada.

Despite t
Tara Million
This was a beautiful book of poetry. I loved the narrative arc that Louise Halfe created and sustained throughout the work. The experience, aftermath, and on-going impact of residential school was skillfully and unflinchingly explored by her. And the hard work of healing and recovering was realistically presented and celebrated. This was a tough read but also a wonderful read that I needed to take my time with.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, hauntingly sad, intimate, honest and courageous . . . . Halfe's collection of poems serves as a grim reminder of the legacy of the residential school system in terms of the devastating effects on the individual as well as their descendants. ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, sorrowful, hopeful poems.
Stephanie Simim
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book of poetry made me incredibly emotional.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
such an amazing collection of poems. a great foil to reading the more detailed truth and reconciliation report.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Omg. Beautiful, painful, restorative. Can't believe I waited this long to read her--I'll snap up every one of her books now. ...more
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A gorgeous and moving book of poetry about the impact on residential school on a native woman and her family.

I cried.

Loved this book.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of those books that's both easy to read (the words slide right into you) and hard (the subject matter is heartbreaking though sometimes hopeful). ...more
Niki Rowland
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Now I am a nothing person. I cannot share what I don’t know.”

Review by Clarissa Fortin

Lisa Bird-Wilson knows how to make words cut and sting.
In her debut poetry collection The Red Files Bird-Wilson skewers government attempts at an apology for residential schools.
"You sowed these seeds and you
apologize for having done this
thing that is still in the doing"
In Burning in this Midnight Dream, Louise Bernice Halfe takes on residential school stories, and other tales of injustice at the hands of Indian Affairs, in a profo
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a heart-breaking book written with courage and truth, and the strength of the images in these poems is unforgettable.
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Louise Halfe is known in Cree as Sky Dancer. She was born on the Saddle Lake First Nation reserve in Alberta in 1953. At the age of seven, she was sent away to Blue Quills Residential School in St. Paul, Alberta. She left home of her own accord when she was sixteen, breaking ties with her family and completing her studies at St. Paul's regional high school. It was at this time that she began writi ...more

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