Monday, 7 May 2012

Rainy River Poet: Al Hunter

Exciting news from Rainy River poet, Al Hunter: he launched his new website today, which looks really good, and coming soon, a new book of poetry... To receive the new book in the right context, here's a bit of a review, the story so far...

Al Hunter is the author of Spirit Horses and The Recklessness of Love, both published by Kegedonce Press.

Many of his poems are open to interpretation, and Hunter likes it that way. “I’m not here to proselytize,” he stressed, adding the reader doesn’t have to choose an outlook nor will he tell a reader what the poem was about.
Hunter said his publisher, Kegedonce, has been wonderful to work [with]..... allowed him to choose his own illustrator, Leo Yerxa, another rarity in publishing, especially for a new author. Yerxa is from Couchiching originally but now lives in Ottawa.
~ Fort Frances Times & Rainy Lake Herald
I love this book. Al's sensual poetry and Leo's horses together making for a beautiful gift of a book, and a great salvo of a first book for any poet.

In 2006, Al was one of two writers from North America invited to the 16th International Poetry Festival of Medellin in Colombia, South America.
A misfit's love for an unattainable lover:
The shoe on the wrong foot.

A river flowing this way

a river flowing this way
here and there and back again
songs and memories
beneath the rise and fall of waves
songs and memories
shelter them and shelter them and shelter them
in your water-laden arms,
in your birth water
shelter them and shelter them and shelter them
upon your shores.

I met Al in Winnipeg, launching Recklessness with the Aboriginal Writers Collective of Manitoba's support~camaraderie: a very good evening of poetry & performance.  


Al has published his poetry in many journals and anthologies, including, Rampike; Canadian Literature; Boyhood, Growing Up Male: A Multicultural Anthology; Poets Who Haven't Moved to Minneapolis; North Coast Review; New Breed; and Gatherings. His work is featured along with Jim Northrup, Denise Sweet and Adrian Louis in the acclaimed anthology, Days of Obsidian, Days of Grace, Poetry & Prose by Four Native American Writers published by Poetry Harbor, Duluth, MN, 1995.

Al is a former Chief of the Rainy River First Nations and a grateful citizen of the Anishinaabe Nation within Treaty 3. He is a proud member of the Caribou clan whose roles and responsibilities include reconciliation, peacemaking, and the preservation of artistic, creative traditions of the Anishinaabeg. He has four children, three step-children and 12 grandchildren.

He has worked as a land claim negotiator, researcher, high school counselor, college and university instructor, professional facilitator, community development specialist, healing and wellness coordinator, independent consultant, and communications and environmental issues advisor to First Nation's communities and governments. He is also considered a treaty expert. Al is the President & Founder of Oshki Aa-yaa’aag Mino Bimaadiziiwin (Good Life for Young People) Foundation.  Al Hunter has a BA from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN. ~2009, The On Edge Readings Series (Vancouver)

In March of 2000, Hunter was named an Anishinaabe Achiever of the Treaty #3 Nation for his work in education and the environment. In the the summer of 2000, he and his wife, Sandra Indian, led "A Walk To Remember," a 1200 mile, sacred journey around Lake Superior "to bring forth community visions of protecting the air, land and water for the Seven Generations yet to come."
International Falls Daily/Kegedonce Press

Sources: interlaving of two bios from the archives, sprinkled with my own commentary + links as noted; Al's website; Kegedonce website; Google Image search to get just the right version of book cover. Al's poems are shared with his permission, for which i thank him.


Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Managing Editor, Kegedonce Press said...

Chi megwetch! Thank you for shining a light on the amazingly beautiful work of Kegedonce Press author Al Hunter. It's well deserved. At Kegedonce Press we're very proud to work with Al and know that his work is both important and valuable while expressing and examining Anishinaabe values and poetics.

RK Abram said...

Yaw^ko Joanne for featuring Al Hunter and his beautiful words and works! It means so much to everyone to have your support.