Vera Manuel devoted her life to encouraging others to free ourselves through the use of our personal voices. Telling the truth is disarming, speaking your truth is a generous and healing gift.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

reminisce & farewell

Back in the middle nineties when I was finding my balance in the offerings of a local Aboriginal organization, Urban First Nations in New Westminster, Vera came by to do a seminar on using writing as healing. She spoke so powerfully and tremendously with her lightning-bolts-of-truth (in the form of poetry), I was much eased. I had a few books published, and a long time interest in writing and healing, but that didn’t stop me from being incorrigibly shy. I wondered if I should talk to her, let her know I was a writer, too, and that I loved her poetry, but the time passed and I said nothing.
Our paths crossed again a decade later, through the beautiful STRONG WORDS: A Celebration of Aboriginal Poets & Poetry gathering, Nov 2008, and the launch of ROCKSALT: An Anthology of BC Poets the same autumn. This time we became friends, and took on a few projects together. She introduced me to the World Poetry community of which she was a founding member, and her long-time friend Ariadne Sawyer, and we joined forces with other local indigenous writers, forming the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast.
Vera always fills me with a feeling of joy, her poetry so centered and true, her personal beauty both shining and radiant.
Joanne Arnott

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