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Join us Wed, March 16 at 7:30 virtually for Linda K. Thompson and Dallas Hunt

Linda K. Thompson lives and writes in Port Alberni on Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations’ territory. She grew up on a Pemberton Valley potato farm; many of her poems harken back to that Coast Mountain landscape. Appearing in Canada, US, and UK, Linda’s publications, poems, shortlists, honourable mentions include The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons prize and England’s Troubadour International Poetry Prize. Linda’s début collection, Black Bears in the Carrot Field, combines the twang of the hurtin’ song with something both dark and lyrical, in a voice ranging from rambunctious humour to tender poignancy. Gritty but never hokey, nostalgic but not sentimental, “the storyteller’s voice is refreshingly rural, heart-driven and tough” (Lorna Crozier). 

Dallas Hunt is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty Eight territory in Northern Alberta. He has had creative works published in Contemporary Verse 2, Prairie Fire, PRISM international and Arc Poetry. His first children’s book, Awâsis and the World-famous Bannock, was published through Highwater Press in 2018. His new book, CREELAND, is out through Nightwood Editions. Hunt is an assistant professor of Indigenous literatures at the University of British Columbia.


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February’s Reading at Poets Corner: Heart-Mind and Nêhiyawêwin

Posted on behalf of Evelyn Schofield

On February 16, the third Wednesday of the month, the Poets Corner community gathered once more virtually to read and listen and talk about poetry and language and the meaning of life. The evening featured readings by Randy Lundy and Selina Boan, whose poetry  spoke of the challenges of honouring the indigenous part of their heritage and illuminated ways of being which stem from traditional Nehiyaw (Cree) culture.

In the discussion, Randy spoke of the way that he has been influenced by Chan Buddhism and the concept of ‘heart-mind’, which resonates for him with the teachings of the elders. He commented on the standard use of metaphor in Anglo poetry to create an effect by comparing unlike things and challenged that with the view that “metaphor is the way the world is – things ARE related, it is not some trick of language, it is an ontological reality.” He stated that his poems come to him through his senses and this is evident in their vivid imagery which reveals his profound connection with nature, the land and the ancestors. In his “revenge” poem On teaching at Campion College, or life among the Jesuits he talks of feeling that the Jesuits want to “wind the Indian poet up like a mechanical bird” and how he’d like to tell them about the small stone that he carries in his pocket which “reminds you of who you are and where you come from…how it is alive…how it is your ancestor, kokum and mushum. How it is older than even their God”.

Selina read her long poem All you can is the best you can in which she talks about connecting with her indigenous roots on her father’s side and the challenges of learning to speak Nêhiyawêwin, a process which she describes as “more hard work than romantic reclamation”.  In the discussion afterward, she mentioned that she is studying to be an English teacher and asked “What does it mean to be writing in English? My indigenous kin would not be speaking this language if it were not for colonization. Why am I teaching this language?” She often mixes Nêhiyawêwin words into her poetry and stated that she has a fascination and love for the ways language impacts the way we see the world. She contrasted the way that English categorizes and labels things with languages that allow for different modes of connection with other things. In her poem Have you ever fallen in love with a day? she yearns to “be as lovable and dangerous as the sun”.  She seems well on her way to being both.


One Minute Poem Series Lives!

"One Minute Poems is back! This year we're off to a great start with readings from Ellie Sawatsky, Kristen Wittman, Arleen Pare, Dallas Hunt and Norah Bowman. Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel. New videos every Friday!"


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Thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts, the League of Canadian Poets and the Writers' Union of Canada for their funding.  We at Poets Corner, and especially our feature readers and one-minute poets, appreciate the support.


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