Category Poetics

“How can I share this?”: Sky Dancer Louise Halfe and the Poetics of the unsayable

“Listen to the bones”      -Louise Halfe, Blue Marrow Sky Dancer Louise Bernice Halfe breathes life into silence. For more than twenty-five years, Halfe, who is Cree, from the Saddle Lake reserve and Treaty Six territory, has used Cree poetics to delicately craft voice out of silence: out of the unheard; out of the ongoing […]

Theatre of Regret Now Available in Paperback

The Theatre of Regret: Literature, Art, and the Politics of Reconciliation in Canada is now available in paperback via UBC Press. Some of the chapters were developed out of writing that I first shared on this blog. For instance the post “Reconciliation: ‘Like an Echo Turned Inside Out’” is the basis of the book’s conclusion, […]

“Riding English”: Tradition and Innovation in Louise Bernice Halfe’s Blue Marrow

At the beginning of the long poem Blue Marrow, âcimowinis (the keeper of the stories) imagines and introduces nôhkom Emma, a strong-willed, adventurous, grandmother whom, because of her own light skin, the narrator guesses married a white man. âcimowinis has never met nôhkom Emma, and colonialism has fragmented and buried much of her Indigenous history, but she uses what she knows of her from […]

sehtoskakew: “Aboriginal Principles of Witnessing” in the Canadian TRC

Witnessing and testimony are an essential component of every Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Canadian TRC is no exception. However, these key terms are ideologically loaded and have historically excluded Indigenous knowledge systems (for instance Delgamuukw v. British Columbia). While “Schedule ‘N’” (which contains the Canadian TRC mandate) gestures towards “Aboriginal principles of witnessing,” there […]

“Memories and Songs”: The Work of Mourning in I Knew Two Métis Women

Gregory Scofield’s I Knew Two Métis Women mourns the loss of a mother and an aunt. The title itself, in its use of the past tense, alerts the reader to the book’s function as eulogy. The series of poems that follow re-tell the lives of two people Scofield loved, tracing the moments that make up his […]