We check in with poet Jules Arita Koostachin on the one-year anniversary of the publication of
Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths
This month, August 2019, is the first anniversary of the publication of Jules Arita Koostachin’s debut book of poetry, Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths. This deeply moving and emotional collection is written in a style Koostachin calls “broken poetry.” It is a working-through of thoughts and feelings and a process of healing from intergenerational trauma in the voice of the daughter of a residential school survivor. Now a mother, she uses the power of words, dreams, and the teachings of her ancestors, to draw her family together and ground them in hope.
Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths was nominated for the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award in Published Poetry in English.
In addition to writing, Jules is working on her PhD, and is an accomplished filmmaker. Her most recent projects include OshKiKiShiKaw: New Day (2019), OChiSkwaCho (2018), and NiiSoTeWak: Two Bodies, One Heart (2017). Check out her bio and CBC film projects here.
On the anniversary of her book's publication, we thought we would check back with Jules to see what she is up to.
Kegedonce Press: What are you doing now? Are you still writing? Writing poetry?
Jules Arita Koostachin: Currently, I'm working towards finishing my next draft of my PhD dissertation and I'm also working on my new memoir, entitled Moccasin Souls. Once I free up some time in the winter, I will start another poetry manuscript.
KP: Do your poetry and filmmaking/scriptwriting intersect in any way?
JAK: Indeed, all my projects intersect, I love stories that derive from a place of truth, and I enjoy finding ways in which our stories can transpire organically. I'm a visual person, and when I'm gifted with story I allow it to take me on a journey.
KP: What are the specific themes in your work, either your poetry or filmmaking, or both?
JAK: My work is very personal, which at times can be challenging. For the most part, I take myself back to my memories of living with my grandparents on my ancestral lands.
KP: What messages do you hope your art will convey?
JAK: I'm so very proud of being a Cree woman, so my hope is that this incredible pride I carry in my work helps heal those who are grappling with pain and disconnect. We are a strong and resilient people, and we are still here!
Read more about Jules and her book in these online articles:
Order a copy of Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths here!