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 3, Sitting by the Rapids, by Albert Dumont.
"Poetry is the raging rapids and it is the little fish which doesn’t give up until the turbulent waters are behind it. Poetry is purpose, renewal and rebirth. sitting by the rapids is all of this and offers insight into the mind of an Indigenous man who lives with severe chronic pain and who found the strength through spirituality and poetry to put a life of alcohol abuse behind him forever." Albert Dumont.
Dumont’s poems are raw, direct reflections on painful experience and the strength and hope that arises from facing and overcoming them. This poetry is powerful and emotional; it exposes the heart of a man who has faced tremendous difficulties and prevailed.
Dumont writes, “The ancestors living at the time of European contact had a way with words. Poetry spilled effortlessly from their lips because the spirit of the land guided their words. I take seriously my belief that medicine of extraordinary healing power is found in the verses of a poet who puts words together for the purpose of bringing peace and serenity to people in want of it. The counsels and poetry of a person living with pain are special and more meaningful to an individual in the throes of heartache.”
Maria Campbell, author of the classic memoir Halfbreed, had this to say about sitting by the rapids: “These gentle words full of love and powerful energy are like Albert himself. They encourage and guide the way for all who read them and are prepared to move on.”
Poet, activist, and spiritual advisor Albert Dumont is one of thirteen Elders on the Elders Advisory Committee of the Ministry of the Attorney General. In recognition for his work as an activist and volunteer on his ancestral lands (Ottawa and Region) Albert was presented with a Human Rights Award by the Public Service Alliance of Canada in 2010. In January 2017 he received the DreamKEEPERS Citation for Outstanding Leadership. He is the author of several other books including Of Trees and their Wisdom, 2009.
A poem from sitting by the rapids:
where is the bird
Where is the lake
I can wade into
My heart filled with righteousness
Where is the trail
In the thick woods
Leading to the circle
Where my spirit
Can replenish itself with courage and truth
Where is the bird
Which would lift me upon its back
So I can fly with it
Searching for the place
Where I can discover again
Purpose and a reinvigorated sense of humanity
My friend, the lake you search for
Is any of your territory
The trail leading to the circle
Is the only trail necessary
The bird you seek
Is the eagle
It calls to you