Jules Arita Koostachin is a filmmaker, scholar, storyteller, and most recently, a poet. Her collection of poetry, Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths, will be released this summer by Kegedonce Press.
Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths delves into the life and the healing of an lnnininew woman from the ancestral lands of the Moshkekowok, now called Northern Ontario. It is through the process of writing broken poetry—visual poetry rooted in the haunting memories of her childhood—that she provides the reader a glimpse into the mind of a child survivor who was saved by her ancestors. This thought-provoking poetry sheds light on a personal account of how she comes to terms with intergenerational trauma inflicted by the residential school system.
Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths is her first book of poetry, and was a twenty year journey.
Welcome, Jules, to the Kegedonce family!
Think Indian is a collection of essays by Basil Johnston, one of Kegedonce’s most beloved and prolific writers. Originally published in 2011, Think Indian has been reprinted this year.
Johnston was an author, elder, cultural philosopher, historian, teacher, university lecturer, and linguist. He was awarded the Order of Ontario in 1989 for his work in preserving Ojibwe/Anishinaabe culture. He was also awarded the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992, the Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award in 2003 and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Heritage and Spirituality in 2004. He passed away at age 86 in 2015.
In Think Indian, Johnston eloquently argues that understanding a people and their culture is very much dependent on understanding their language. For the Anishinaabek themselves, preserving their language and gaining fluency in it is a matter of knowing themselves.
While described as a collection of essays, the chapters of this book flow from history and reflections on language into the deeply moving legends of the Anishinaabek. They therefore preserve story and culture, as well as the insights of a remarkable elder, author, and educator. Think Indian confidently straddles the line between non-fiction and fiction, education and mythology.
Think Indian is a truly enjoyable and informative read, and a vital contribution to the preservation of Anishinaabe culture.
Read a review in Canadian Literature here.
Without Reservation, published by Kegedonce in 2003, is a truly unique anthology of short fiction and poetry. It is also international, bringing together works from Indigenous poets and writers from Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and Australia.
It is also a collection of erotica.
What is Indigenous erotica? It's about the loving, sexual, 'dirty,' outrageous, ribald intimacies of humanity and sexuality that we all crave. It shows us as we are: people who love each other, who fall in love and out of love, who have lovers, who make love, have sex, break hearts, get our own hearts broken, who have beautiful bodies. It's about all of the crazy, poignant, obscene, absurd things we do just to taste, touch, enjoy, and enter another. Go ahead, sneak a peek...
A poem from Without Reservation, by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, to whet your appetite...
a sweet taste of plum
a ripe plum
As Kegedonce celebrates its 25th anniversary year, we look back at some of our most memorable and important publications.
April is National Poetry Month, and this month we're pleased to focus on Joanne Arnott's wonderful collection, Halfling Spring: an internet romance.
Published in 2013, Halfling Spring is poetry that tracks the transformative aspects of desire through updates or notes posted thrugh a variety of virtual and real landscapes. Vivid ink and soft charcoal sketches by award-winning artist-author Leo Yerxa interweave with Joanne Arnott's love poetry, accompanying and illuminating the work. Traditional stories, electronic metaphors, bird life and geographic observastions, literary and song references combine with dream imagery and conversational turns, tracking the early stages of a love affair. Wtih refreshing simplicity, this book presents these artists' reflections upon the complexities of the inner life, and the weathers and landscapes of love.
Joanne's first book of poetry won the Gerald Lampert award in 1992 and in 2017, Joanne was awarded the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Literary Arts.
"Her word an intimate song, the reader is led by the heart, from the Pacific, to the Rideau, to the far northern sea. Yet her words are both delicate and compelling, and the flower is not only a fragile one; in chorus, 'a water lily is thriving,' and rooted below the reader, Arnott's words are a powerful medicine." Sharron Proulx-Turner, author of Where the Rivers Join, what the auntys say, and creole métisse of french canada, me.
From Halfling Spring:
i write his name, Alastair
then i put a comma beside his name
i see that the comma beside his name
is like my hand on his shoulder, neck, face
i enjoy this
i write his name
i place my comma
Find a wonderful review of Halfling Spring, by James MacKay, here.