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Indigenous Poetics in Canada

edited by Neal McLeod

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canadian, indigenous studies
list price: $36.99
also available: eBook
published: 2014
  • Winner, ACQL Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism
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Indigenous Poetics in Canada broadens the way in which Indigenous poetry is examined, studied, and discussed in Canada. Breaking from the parameters of traditional English literature studies, this volume embraces a wider sense of poetics, including Indigenous oralities, languages, and understandings of place.

Featuring work by academics and poets, the book examines four elements of Indigenous poetics. First, it explores the poetics of memory: collective memory, the persistence of Indigenous poetic consciousness, and the relationships that enable the Indigenous storytelling process. The book then explores the poetics of performance: Indigenous poetics exist both in written form and in relation to an audience. Third, in an examination of the poetics of place and space, the book considers contemporary Indigenous poetry and classical Indigenous narratives. Finally, in a section on the poetics of medicine, contributors articulate the healing and restorative power of Indigenous poetry and narratives.

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Editorial Reviews

''Conversations about Indigenous literatures will be forever enriched by this stunning new collection. Here, the leading voices in Indigenous literary studies draw upon deep currents of inspiration—both ancient and contemporary—as they reflect upon and powerfully perform the act of re-making the world through language. Joyful, humbling, and wonderfully diverse, Indigenous Poetics in Canada welcomes readers and writers into a re-indigenized rhetorical landscape-and I cannot wait to see what takes place there.''

— Keavy Martin

''In a fine introduction, McLeod does an admirable job of framing the essays and interviews to come while giving readers less familiar with indigenous poetics insight into some of the tropes and rhetorical strategies practitioners use, including kiskino (‘things...pointed to, but never completely articulated’), kakêskihkêmowina (‘counselling narratives’), and aniskwâcimopicikêwin (‘the process of connecting stories together’). That this collection exists is at once a challenge to the white publishing world that has long refused to recognize indigenous poetic practices as ‘poetry’ and a testament to the health and vibrancy of the living word of indigenous consciousness.... Summing up: Highly recommended.''

— Choice, December 2014

''Indigenous Poetics in Canada is that rare book of scholarship that speaks to the heart and spirit as well as the mind. The selections in this collection offer powerful individual and collective insight into the ways that diverse traditions of Indigenous poetics animate our imaginative possibilities and extend our cultural understandings across time, space, and difference. To study Indigenous poetics is to be forcefully reminded of both our historical traditions and their continuing significance, and the poets, writers, scholars, and story-makers featured in this volume are among the most eloquent and insightful voices on the topic today. This is a transformative intervention in Indigenous literary studies as well as the broader canon of Canadian literature, reminding us that questions of aesthetics are always in dynamic relationship with the lived experience of our politicized imaginations in the world.''

— Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation)
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