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Gabriela Halas


First Language(s): Czech
Second Language(s): English


Gabriela immigrated to Canada during the early 1980s with her parents and sister. She grew up in northern Alberta, lived in Alaska for seven years, and currently resides in B.C. She has published poetry in a variety of literary journals including “The Louisville Review,” “The Hopper,” “Gingerbread House Literary Magazine,” “The Goose,” “untethered magazine,” and “Rock & Sling,” and forthcoming in “december magazine,” and “Prairie Fire,” fiction in “subTerrain” and “Broken Pencil;” nonfiction in “Grain,” “Pilgrimage,” and “High Country News.” She has received two Best of the Net nominations in poetry (2020). She lives and writes on traditional Ktunaxa Nation land.


What was your favorite book as a child?

I was a horse-obsessed young girl and my favorite book (or series) was “Misty of Chincoteague,” a children's novel written by Marguerite Henry. I loved knowing that it was based on true events, and that there were still “wild” horses left (I didn’t know about mustangs, or the fact that the East Coast horses were more feral than “wild” — similar as well to mustangs). It was also very American, taking place in Virginia, and it tapped into my “this is America” sentiment I was slowly discovering.

Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

I don’t really recall, to be honest, except a general feeling of not being heard, or feeling like my family did not accept my real and true emotions or thoughts. I had written a “diary” as a very young girl and poured all my dark energies into that… it was only later that I wanted to fictionalize those feelings… probably somewhat to hide behind them and to explore other parts of those complex emotions. Poetry seemed to come more “naturally,” it fed into my love of lyrics, and short disjointed thoughts that I started to piece together into something more coherent.

What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?

Most recently I began riding horses again and this has been a dream come true — a true culmination of my childhood desires. Riding one night, my friend and I started galloping — it was pitch black out, on a deserted road… I put all my trust in my gelding and he just ran… it was the feeling of not seeing anything but sailing that I realized was missing from life — the letting go to forces beyond your control. It was thrilling beyond description.

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

No I don’t… I definitely find it distracting! My ideal is very early in the morning, no sounds, no one around, total silence. I try to find that place of total concentration, though that is not always successful.


When we first arrived, 1983
Issue Spring '21

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz