i am femme, i am fireweed
Fireweed is a collection of poetry that explores the rawness, trauma, and realities of adolescence compounded with the experience of being a young, Indigenous, and two-spirit intergenerational residential school survivor. Rooted in the symbolism and growth of fireweed, a flower native to the northwest of Canada, this collection takes readers through the hurt, healing, love, and spreading that encompassed the first 23 years of the author’s attempt to find truth, safety and connection. Grounded in the simplicity of words and the illustration of the north, this book is a powerful window into the process of finding oneself while reclaiming culture and identity.
Fireweed is a debut poetry collection by Tunchai Redvers of the Deninu K’ue First Nation. It is a four-part collection of poetry whose sections are titled: “Devastation: the hurt,” “Rebirth: the healing,” “Grounded: the love,” and “Seeds: the spreading.” Redvers dedicates her book to Indigenous youth, Indigenous women, and two-spirit people who are quite literally dying to not only have relevant content and support available to them, but content and support that is healing and hopeful.
Fireweed will be published by Kegedonce Press in the Summer of 2019.
Tunchai Redvers will publish her debut poetry collection, Fireweed, with Kegedonce in 2019. Fireweed is a four-part collection of poetry and prose. It explores the rawness, trauma, and realities of adolescence compounded with the experience of being a young, Indigenous, and two-spirit intergenerational residential school survivor.
Tunchai Redvers, known to spirit as White Feather Woman, is a two-spirit social justice warrior, writer, and wanderer belonging to Deninu K’ue First Nation. With Dene, Métis and Scottish roots on her maternal side and English, Italian and Irish roots on her paternal side, she was born and raised in Treaty 8 territory, Northwest Territories. Now living in southern Ontario, she is the co-founder of We Matter, a national organization dedicated to Indigenous youth hope and life promotion. Recognized nationally and internationally for her work, her advocacy and writing centers the reclamation and indigenization of identity, mental health and healing. She spends most of her time resisting, loving, and travelling across territories, and considers herself a nomad just like her ancestors. She finds safety in the words: be proud of who you are, be thankful for those who love and guide you, and never forget where you came from.
YOU ARE ENOUGH: LOVE POEMS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD by Smokii Sumac
WINNER of the 2019 INDIGENOUS VOICES AWARD
in the PUBLISHED POETRY IN ENGLISH category!
In his debut poetry collection you are enough: love poems for the end of the world, Smokii Sumac has curated a selection of works from two years of a near daily poetry practice. What began as a sort of daily online poetry journal using the hashtag #haikuaday, has since transformed into a brilliant collection of storytelling drawing upon Indigenous literary practice, and inspired by works like Billy Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World, and Tenille Campbell's #IndianLovePoems. With sections dealing with recovery from addiction and depression, coming home through ceremony, and of course, as the title suggests, on falling in and out of love, Sumac brings the reader through two years of life as a Ktunaxa Two-Spirit person. This collection will move you as Sumac addresses the grief of being an Indigenous person in Canada, shares timely (and sometimes hilarious) musings on consent, sex, and gender, introduces readers to people and places he has loved and learned from, and through it all, helps us all come to know that we are enough, just as we are.
Check out these articles featuring Smokii Sumac and his book, you are enough!
All Lit Up Blog Feature, Poetry in Motion
Open Book's Newsletter interview with Smokii.
Cover Art by Catherine Dallaire
NOW AVAILABLE FROM KEGEDONCE PRESS! 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 writes of sitting by the rapids: “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.”
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. —Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed.
Reading sitting by the rapids is a literary experience much like Indigenous poet Albert Dumont’s title for his collection. His reflective lines of personal spirituality and salvation flow over the hidden rocks of his life with a raw grace, and his evolving relationship with Nature and the Great Spirit washes powerfully over the reader, who may well see their reflection in it. —Phil Jenkins, author of An Acre of Time.
Nominated for the 2ND ANNUAL INDIGENOUS VOICES AWARD
in the PUBLISHED POETRY IN ENGLISH category!
A debut poetry collection by author and filmmaker Jules Arita Koostachin.
To unearth our secrets means we must face our past, and in doing so, we will find our voice.
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 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 explores the heartfelt and evocative fragmented experiences through the eyes of an Indigenous woman. 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 reconnects 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.
Check out the All Lit Up Blog feature and interview with Jules Koostachin, "Writer's Block"!
One Métis woman’s experience in Canada; true stories from the inside out.
creole métisse of french canada, me is poetry written in a unique, prose-like fashion, without capitalized words. Sharron's personal stories enable the reader to see the bigger picture: the ongoing effects of colonialism, the historic treatment of Indigenous people, and the experience of being a woman, Métis, and two-spirited in Canada.
"I wish I could be that brave. as brave as the big dipper. the great bear there, purring, watching, holding my hand. me looking to the side and down. the words I seek are buried there, under grief. inside the darkness of a cottonwood, inside the seeds of orange berries. the wings of a female mallard in flight, exposing blues and whites and blacks otherwise unseen, like a woman's beauty, often hidden until she looks up, sees the small spaces between the leaves, yellow hearts on the black bark after a fall rain." - Excerpt from creole métisse of french canada, me
"This text revolves around itself, weaves a lineage into its own lining, retells and untells stories from before and after. This text is a reach into the breach, a simultaneous digesting and retching that fetches the wretched of the earth and beads it into balance. This text allows the vitriol of history to surface but not surpass the story of songlines, breaths of care that filter into alveoli, sustaining and disclaiming all at once. This text is a single word writ worldly on our skin." Ashok Mathur, Ph.D. Head, Department of Creative Studies, University of British Columbia, Okanagan.
"Readers of sharron’s earlier books will be moved to hear more of her poetic storytell, while readers new to her work have in this book an open doorway through which to visit with a woman of knowledge, energy, challenge, and wit, an important métisse/Métis writer." Joanne Arnott, author of Halfling Spring
Sharron Proulx-Turner was a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Originally from the Ottawa river valley, Sharron was from Mohawk, Wyandat, Algonquin, Ojibwe, Mi'kmaw, French and Irish ancestry. Sharron was a two-spirit nokomis, mom, writer and community worker. Where the Rivers Join (1995), a memoir (Beckylane), was a finalist for the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction, and what the auntys say (2002), was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Prize for poetry.
Sharron’s work appeared in several anthologies, including Oxford Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English, Crisp Blue Edges, Tales from Moccasin Avenue, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood, and in literary journals, including Gatherings, Yellow Medicine Review and West Coast Line. Sharron had two more recent books, a mixed-genre-historical-fiction called, she walks for days/ inside a thousand eyes/ a two-spirit story (2008), and a book of dedication poems called she is reading her blanket with her hands (2008). Sharron passed away in 2016. Kegedonce Press is honoured to publish this manuscript in her memory.
Gwen Benaway is of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. Her first collection of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, was published in 2013 and her second collection of poetry, Passage, was published by Kegedonce Press in Fall 2016. As emerging Two-Spirited Trans poet, she has been described as the spiritual love child of Tomson Highway and Anne Sexton. In 2015, she was the recipient of the inaugural Speaker’s Award for a Young Author and in 2016 she received a Dayne Ogilvie Honour of Distinction for Emerging Queer Authors from the Writer's Trust of Canada. Her work has been published and anthologized internationally. She and her many vintage dresses can be found on Instagram @gwenbenaway
In her second collection of poetry, Passage, Gwen Benaway examines what it means to experience violence and speaks to the burden of survival. Traveling to Northern Ontario and across the Great Lakes, Passage is a poetic voyage through divorce, family violence, legacy of colonization, and the affirmation of a new sexuality and gender. Previously published as a man, Passage is the poet’s first collection written as a transwoman. Striking and raw in sparse lines, the collection showcases a vital Two Spirited identity that transects borders of race, gender, and experience. In Passage, the poet seeks to reconcile herself to the land, the history of her ancestors, and her separation from her partner and family by invoking the beauty and power of her ancestral waterways. Building on the legacy of other ground-breaking Indigenous poets like Gregory Scofield and Queer poets like Tim Dlugos, Benaway’s work is deeply personal and devastating in sharp, clear lines. Passage is a book burning with a beautiful intensity and reveals Benaway as one of the most powerful emerging poets writing in Indigenous poetics today.
Written by award-winning writer David Groulx, this is a ferocious, erudite collection centred around an epic poem "Wabigoon River Poem(s)" which is breathtaking in its unflinching and wide-ranging look at oppression, genocide, revolution, and survival.
Wabigoon River Poems draws upon Indigenous knowledge and traditions while pushing at the boundaries of what readers might expect Indigenous poetry to be. It is masterful, engaging, bold, brilliant, fearless and daring.