Table of contents

Table of Contents for
Indigenous Poetics in Canada, edited by Neal McLeod

Introduction | Neal McLeod

Poetics of Memory

1 Achimo | Duncan Mercredi

2 Interview with Armand Garnet Ruffo | Conducted by Neal McLeod

3 Edgework: Indigenous Poetics as Re-placement | Warren Cariou

4 Pauline Passed Here | Janet Marie Rogers

5 Writer-Reader Reciprocity and the Pursuit of Alliance through Indigenous Poetry | Sam McKegney

6 Remembering the Poetics of Ancient Sound kistêsinâw/wîsahkêcâhk's maskihkiy (Elder Brother's Medicine) | Tasha Beeds

7 On Reading Basso | David Newhouse

8 The Pemmican Eaters | Marilyn Dumont

9 Cree Poetic Discourse | Neal McLeod

Poetics of Place

10 “Bubbling Like a Beating Heart”: Reflections on Nishnaabeg Poetic and Narrative Consciousness | Leanne Simpson

11 Getting (Back) to Poetry: A Memoir | Daniel David Moses

12 Kwadây Kwańdur-Our Shagóon | Alyce Johnson

13 “Pimuteuat/ Ils marchent/ They Walk”: A Few Observations on Indigenous Poetry and Poetics in French | Michèle Lacombe

14 Iskigamizigan (The Sugarbush): A Poetics of Decolonization | Waaseyaa'sin Christine Sy

15 The Power of Dirty Waters: Indigenous Poetics | Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

16 A Poetics of Place and Apocalypse: Conflict and Contradiction in Poetry of the Red River Resistance and the Northwest Resistance | Jesse Rae Archibald-Barber

17 My Poem Is an Indian Woman | Rosanna Deerchild

Poetics of Performance

18 Interview with Marvin Francis | Conducted by Rosanna Deerchild and Shayla Elizabeth

19 Blood Moves with Us—Story Poetry Lives Inside | Janet Rogers

20 Revitalizing Indigenous Swagger: Poetics from a Plains Cree Perspective | Lindsay “Eekwol” Knight

21 A Conversation of Influence, Tradition, and Indigenous Poetics: An Interview with Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm | Conducted by Rhiannon Johnson

22 The “Nerve of Cree,” the Pulse of Africa: Sound Identities in Cree, Cree-Métis, and Dub Poetries in Canada | Susan Gingell

23 Poetics of Renewal: Indigenous Poetics–Message or Medium? | Lillian Allen

Poetics of Medicine

24 Indigenous Poetry and the Oral | Lee Maracle

25 Poems as Healing Bundles | Gregory Scofield

26 Small Birds/Songs Out of Silence | Joanne Arnott

27 Stretching through Our Watery Sleep: Feminine Narrative Retrieval of cihcipistikwân in Louise Halfe's The Crooked Good | Lesley Belleau

28 “Learning to Listen to a Quiet Way of Telling”: A Study of Cree Counselling Discourse Patterns in Maria Campbell's Halfbreed | Gail MacKay

About the Contributors



“A transformative intervention in Indigenous literary studies (. . . ) 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

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: the poetics of memory, the poetics of performance, the poetics of place and space, and the poetics of medicine.


  • Winner, ACQL Gabrielle Roy Prize for Literary Criticism 2014


``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

``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)

``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. ''

- B. Carson