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Friday, 4 April 2014

readings for PurdyFest #8: Pauline JohnsonFest

Hi Katharine, Manuel, Marvin, James, Tai et al.  ;  )

I'm hoping to clear a growing number of backlogged & overdue emails with this one email, so my apologies if this is a bit crammed.

Firstly, congrats to all involved with producing the Milton Acorn issue of THE AMBASSADOR! It's a great feeling knowing that Milt's poetic & political legacy is now available in Spanish.

And it's a major honour & a compliment to learn that the next Canuck issue of THE AMBASSADOR will again follow our PurdyFest selection, this time with the focus on Pauline Johnson. It also gives us all a sense of accomplishment & some small sense of contributing to posterity knowing that Marvin Orbach is carefully preserving our poetic activities with his collection at the University of Calgary Special Archives. Katharine, I hope you'll be able to contribute reprint copies of your chapbooks; if not, I'm willing to send Marvin my personal copy(ies).

The choice of Pauline Johnson as the focus for our eighth PurdyFest came about when Pearl Pirie observed we were focusing on male Canadian People's Poets, & we began rectifying this by featuring the life & poetic legacy of Dorothy Livesay at last summer's PurdyFest #7. Choosing Livesay kept an historical accuracy to our exploration of the chronology of Canuck People's Poets.

The choice of Pauline Johnson for Fest #8 was initially decided because of our wishes to continue honouring more  women People's Poets, but this choice has also added the very relevant matter of First Nations political & cultural issues to this year's Symposium agenda. Almost every recent major Canuck literary award has been justly garnered by a First Nations author. The list includes Joseph Boyden's THE ORENDA for the CANADA READS AWARD and Katherena Vermette's collection, NORTH END LOVE SONGS, which received Canada's highest literary award for poetry, The GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD.

My friend Gail has expressed concerns over Canada's ongoing exploitation & discrimination of First Nations, and my recent order from Amazon included her choice of Thomas King's historical overview THE INCONVENIENT INDIAN. A few year's ago I read philosopher/academic John Ralston Saul's treatise, A FAIR COUNTRY. Now that I'm well into THE INCONVENIENT INDIAN I'm finding the two books make for perfect parallel reading: FAIR COUNTRY now appears a rather bloodless historical analysis, while INCONVENIENT INDIAN adds the missing blood, guts, horror and humour. I strongly suggest everyone read all these books, if they haven't done so already, as well as Pauline Johnson's FLINT AND FEATHER: THE COMPLETE POEMS OF E. PAULINE JOHNSON.  

Things are coming to a head for our small blue planet. Climate change threatens the very continued existence of humans. After centuries of oppression, much of the leadership in opposing the many abuses to our environment, such as opposition to the transnational North Amerikan pipelines, is being led by our First Nations.

peace & poetry power!
Chris   ... & Chase Wrfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff!

Silence, they say is the
voice of our complicity.
But silence is impossible
    Silence screams.
 Silence is a message,
 Just as doing nothing is
           an act.
Let who you are ring out
          & resonate
  in every word & every
Yes, become who you are.
 There's no sidestepping
        your own being
           or your own
   What you do is who you
     You are your own
   You become your own
     You are the message.

     in the spirit of Crazy


Leonard Peltier
13,937 days, 19 hours, and 40 seconds of ILLEGAL IMPRISONMENT.

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