Two new poetry collections will be celebrated at a book launch in Ottawa with respected Ojibway writers David Groulx and Armand Garnet Ruffo. The co-launch takes place Wed. May 20 from 7-9 p.m. at Octopus Books Centretown: 251 Bank St., Second floor, Ottawa.
David Groulx, author of Wabigoon River Poems, and Armand Garnet Ruffo, author of The Thunderbird Poems, will read from their collections at the Octopus Books venue, which is well-known for its focus on promoting books that push boundaries.
Wabigoon River Poems (Kegedonce Press, May 2015) by David Groulx 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. These are Indigenous poems in a global context, tackling philosophy, history, epistemology, and placing Indigenous struggles alongside other battles, other atrocities, other genocides. Wabigoon River Poems draws upon Indigenous knowledge and traditions while pushing at the boundaries of what readers might expect Indigenous poetry to be.
The Thunderbird Poems (Harbour Publishing, May 2015) by Armand Garnet Ruffo, provides fresh poetic interpretations of the most renowned and striking works of one of Canada's most celebrated painters, Norval Morrisseau. The collection mirrors significant themes in Morrisseau's work: Ojibway legends, Morrisseau's conflicted religious beliefs, political tensions between white and aboriginal Canadians. Deeply immersed in Morrisseau's life story, and possessing thorough knowledge of the Ojibway storytelling traditions which grounded so much of the artist's beliefs and creativity, Ruffo delves into Morrisseau's creative life through compressed, imagistic language.
David Groulx was raised in Northern Ontario. He is proud of his Aboriginal roots – Ojibwe Indian and French Canadian. After receiving his BA from Lakehead University where he won the Munro Poetry Prize, David studied Creative Writing at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton, B.C. where he won the Simon J Lucas Jr. Memorial Award for Poetry. He also studied at University of Victoria’s Creative Writing Program. David’s poetry has appeared in over 160 publications in 16 countries, and his poetry has been translated into Spanish, German, French and Ojibwa. He lives in Ottawa, Canada. Wabigoon River Poems is David’s eighth book.
Armand Garnet Ruffo is the author of the biography Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird (Douglas & McIntyre, 2014) and three books of poetry: Opening In The Sky (Theytus Books, 1994), Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney (Coteau Books, 1997) and At Geronimo’s Grave (Coteau Books, 2001). In addition to writing an award-winning film, A Windigo Tale (2010), he has also edited and co-edited (Ad)Dressing Our Words: Aboriginal Perspectives on Aboriginal Literatures (Theytus Books, 2001) and An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English (Oxford University Press, 2013). He is an associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University and lives in Kingston, Ontario.
For more information about the launch event, please visit octopusbooks.ca