NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Celebrating Indigenous Poetry

Five Weeks, Five Books
Celebrating Indigenous Poetry during National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and although it may seem like everything is suspended while we are practicing social distancing, we at Kegedonce heartily believe that we have more cause than ever to indulge in and celebrate poetry!

For five weeks, we are highlighting five of our recent poetry collections, one per week. Check out our website, Facebook and Instagram pages for images, excerpts and other tidbits about these five fabulous Indigenous poetry collections. Although we are not currently shipping orders from our local warehouse, all of our books can still be ordered online at All Lit Up. What better time to support Canadian poets and publishing! 

Week 2, Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths, by Jules Arita Koostachin.
Finalist for the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award in Published Poetry in English.

In her debut poetry collection, Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths, writer, scholar, filmmaker and poet Jules Koostachin delves into trauma and healing, haunting childhood memories, and survival. These poems were twenty years in the making, a journey that enabled Koostachin to transform intergenerational trauma in the aftermath of the residential school system into strength, hope, and resilience. Her style, which she calls "broken poetry," visually underscores the process of that journey, and frequently includes words, lines, and phrases in Cree. 

"Through the honesty of her words, she embraces the spirit world, the resilience of her foremothers, the integral healing powers of disassociation as a survival mechanism, and the richness of her mitewin – dreams, which reconnect her to herself. Through her poetry, she has found the courage to face her difficult past, and now as a mother, she is gathering the truths of her family to help in the healing process" (Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths, 2018).JAK author photo thumbnail

Reviewer Zainab Amadahy writes, "Koostachin shares with us personal, raw and heartfelt writings. Familiar yet unique, the reader takes away from these stories a grounded appreciation for how sharing can be empowering and, simultaneously, a process of finding deep meaning in one’s most horrific experiences. Despite its gravity, Koostachin’s first book is not a difficult read but more of a detoxification, a shedding of skin that reveals the exquisite beauty of Mino-bimaadiziwin beneath" (Muskrat Magazine, November 10, 2018). 

A poem from Unearthing Secrets, Gathering Truths:


slowly emerging
tundra hugs their cold bare feet
absorbing the red soil
swallowing the warmth
centering the being
walls tied together with sinew
leather becomes my veil
veil of red AsKi
steering me away from the lies
untruths told
misleading stories of us
the human beings
standing tall together

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