Monday, 26 May 2014

blog train crossroads: Richard Van Camp

Richard & Keavy at TIFF 2012, premiere of "The Lesser Blessed"
Richard Van Camp / four questions: 

the four questions:
what am i working on?

1) I'm currently working on a new graphic novel series, "Wheetago War", and I'm so excited about the Theytus Books' sci fi and spec fiction anthology coming out with Neal McLeod as the editor. I have a story in there called "Skull.Full.Of.Rust" and Neal just sent me great edit notes so I'm hoping it's ready to go. I have three new books coming out: "Three Feathers" (Portage and Main), a g. novel on restorative justice; "Whistle" a novel with Pearson Canada and a new short story collection, "Night Moves" with Enfield & Wizenty so I'm gearing up for all of these beauties--and preparing for rewrite notes any day on all of them.

Edzazii, two days old

As well, I'm the Executive Producer for Monkey Beach, the cinematic feature adaptation of Eden Robinson's gorgeous novel, so we are fundraising and getting things ready for our shoot.

All is great!

LITTLE YOU, written by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett

how does my work differ from others of it's genre?

2) I always try and put one teaching I've been given that I worry the world is forgetting in all of my works. I was so lucky to grow up in Fort Smith, NWT where storytelling is greatly respected, and I love stories so much, so if I can put something in a story that was passed on to me by my family or the elders I adore, I am happy.

Richard Van Camp’s story “The Magic of Wolverines,”
 illustrated by Scott B. Henderson, is included in the One Tribe anthology 

why do i write what i do?

3) I write to make sense of the world around me: the good, the horrific, the heartbreaking, the gorgeous. I write to make peace.

Pat Kane Photoblog TundraStruck!

how does my writing process work?

4) My process is simple: get up early with the birds, put the coffee on, write for as long as I can and spend the rest of the day listening and doing my best.

Mahsi cho!

getting up with the birds in Fort Smith NWT

Richard's website

An Interview with Richard Van Camp, Jordan Wilson (canlit 2008)

19 Questions, Curtis Leblanc (2013)

more blog train: chris bose

on this blog

Welcome to Edzazii
Congratulations, Keavy & Richard!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Theotokos, შენ ხარ ვენახი

Thou art a vineyard - შენ ხარ ვენახი

Georgian Orthodox hymn to the Theotokos . English translation[s]: 

"Thou art a vineyard, 
newly blossomed out. 
Tender, beautiful, 
planted in Eden, 
Aloe-scented from Paradise.
God adorned thee, 
no one deserves praise as thou, 
And thou art thyself a brilliant sun".

"You are a vineyard newly blossomed.
Young, beautiful, growing in Eden,
(A fragrant poplar sapling in Paradise.)
(May God adorn you. No one is more worthy of praise.)
You yourself are the sun, shining brilliantly.


shota vacharadze shota vacharadze  Published on Apr 11, 2012
 CD "Sacred Georgian Chants." The Georgian Harmony Choir. Direction: Nana Peradze  Edition JADE

შენ ხარ ვენახი - ნანა ფერაძე
Thou Art the Vineyard - Nana Peradze and The Georgian Harmony Choir
Tu Es La Vigne
Tu Es Une Vigne

შენ ხარ ვენახი — შუა საუკუნეების ქართული იამბიკო და გალობა, დაწერილი საქართველოს მეფე დემეტრე I-ის (1097-1156) მიერ. კომპოზიტორი გალობისა უცნობია და ხალხურადაა მიჩნეული. „შენ ხარ ვენახი" ერთ-ერთია იამბიკოების სერიიდან — „ღმრთისმშობელისადმი", რომელიც დემეტრემ, სავარაუდოდ დავით გარეჯის მონასტერში ბერად ყოფნისას დაწერა. საკუთრივ გალობა, ერთ-ერთი საუკეთესო ნიმუშია შუა საუკუნეების ქართული მრავალხმიანი მუსიკისა.

Thou Art a Vineyard (Georgian: შენ ხარ ვენახი, transliterated: Shen Khar Venakhi) is a medieval Georgian hymn. The text is attributed to King Demetrius I of Georgia (1093-1156). The composer of the music is unknown. Supposedly Demetrius I wrote it during his confinement as a monk in the David Gareja Monastery. The hymn is dedicated to Georgia and the patronage of the Virgin Mary; it is also a prayer of praise to Mary in the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Thou Art a Vineyard is usually sung by a choir without instrumental accompaniment and is a classic example of Georgian choral music. The hymn is characterized as very polyphonic and is representative of the late Medieval traditions of the Georgian Renaissance.

შენ ხარ ვენახი, ახლად აყვავებული,
ნორჩი კეთილი, ედემს შინა ნერგული,
(ალვა სუნელი, სამოთხეს ამოსული,)
(ღმერთმან შეგამკო ვერვინა გჯობს ქებული,)
და თავით თვისით მზე ხარ და გაბრწყინვებული.

Latin transliteration:
shen khar venakhi, akhlad aqvavebuli.
norchi k'etili, edems shina nerguli.
(alva suneli, samotkhes amosuli.)
(ghmertman shegamk'o vervina gjobs kebuli.)
da tavit tvisit mze khar da gabrts'qinvebuli.

ENGLISH translation:
You are a vineyard newly blossomed.
Young, beautiful, growing in Eden,
(A fragrant poplar sapling in Paradise.)
(May God adorn you. No one is more worthy of praise.)
You yourself are the sun, shining brilliantly.

FRENCH Translation:
Tu es une vigne nouvellement fleurie
Jeune, belle, croissant dans l'Eden,
(Jeune peuplier fragrant en Paradis)
(Que Dieu te pare. Nul être n'est plus digne de louange.)
Tu es toi-même le soleil qui rayonne brillamment

Renate Eigenbrod: hi/stories

Renate Eigenbrod
"Maybe I shouldn't have smiled ... But I was on holidays in a small town close to Algonquin Park. 

While I and my family were enjoying the beautiful environment of this region, I was also looking for stories and histories of the Aboriginal people of the area - after all, the park is named after one of their nations, the Algonqins.

However, I did not find anything - except a stereotypical display of pre-contact life in the Visitor's Centre (which is very spacious and tells a lot of other stories) and this life-size figure (together with another one of "an Indian" in a canoe) in front of a craft store for tourists.

So in the midst of total ABSENCE of the real people and their real stories about how they still have to fight for land they had never signed away (like the Algonqin Park) I found the PRESENCE of images that relegates Aboriginal people to the past, to the imaginary and the exotic, that commercializes their culture and dehumanizes the people.

Algonqin means "allies," and the Algonqins were allies of the British in 1812, but instead of being rewarded for their efforts they had and still have to fight for their rights.

It is hi/stories like these that need to be told in Canadian educational institutions. This is why I teach in Native Studies."

~Renate Eigenbrod

     podcast:  What do I say?

Renate Eigenbrod

Losing a friend, mentor

Beloved professor, scholar and head of Native studies Dr. Renate Eigenbrod has died

In Memoriam: Renate Eigenbrod

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Rebirth Paddle

Rebirth Paddle - Blue Heron and Camas Flower Design

Jane Marston

Northwest Coast (Coast Salish)
Yellow cedar, acrylic paint
62"   2013 [sold]
View artist biography and more artworks.

Artist Statement: The Story of the Rebirth Paddle:

In our culture we were taught never to quarrel or fight with each other.
We were taught to always help each other and be peaceful with each other.
One day Blue Heron and Camas were playing and they got into an awful fight.
They were calling each other bad names and hollering at each other.
An Elder came across them and said Stop. You are not listening to our teachings.
You know words are powerful and you are using them in anger and in hurtful ways.
Blue Heron I will make you a bird. You must live in both the water and the land. Your job will be to help troubled Spirits to the other side.
Camas you will become a flower and your roots will be used for food for our people. As a flower you will gift our Spirit with peace.
You will both be a sign of rebirth for all people.
Blue Heron and Camass live not as people now but as a bird and flower because they didn’t practise their teachings.

Shared by: Jane Kwatleematt Marston

on Alcheringa Gallery website

more artists & artworks:


Sunday, 11 May 2014

mothers natures

daffodil & mamagoose in conversation (john barlow)
'a true mother' (cherie dimaline)

'Kelly wrecking up the restaurant" (cherie dimaline)

'elders gone wild' (cherie dimaline)
mothers journey @ quesnel river (christi belcourt)

Top photo is a glimpse of mama nature this spring, in TO, which reminded me of previous mama nature photos-- myself rescuing a teddy bear, Kelly Benning & Jane Marston at a charming cafe, all taken at our old lady hunting gathering in Yellowknife YT, and, many of the mothers and grandmothers-- all writers and artists-- gathered near Likely BC, for the mothers journey writing retreat with Maria Campbell.

Admittedly, i am guessing about who took which photo, 
except in the case of the first, but these are my best guesses. 
Like the image below, they are "from the archives," capture some of the beauty & joyfullness of mothers' true nature, mothers in springtime, etc.

Mother's Day: CBC Aboriginal asks, 'What did you learn from your mom?'

Grandma Margaret Harris
Grandma Harris, Margaret Harris, taught many women life skills and supported our flourishing, through Traditional Mothers programs and dance troupes and freelance mentoring relationships. Alongside other gifted woman mentors, she nourished that part of the urban community who had taken on the mother role, and who wished for some guidance in connecting more deeply with self, role, community, and indigeneity. In a rare recent visit, we spoke mostly about books, writers, and saints, and she did reflect for a time on dance as cultural expression. She told me that the Goose Dance, which she taught the mothers at Indian Homemakers Association (as was), was one that she had learned from her elders, from her relatives, in situ in northern Manitoba, way back in the day. Although I would be hard-pressed to show you the complete dance today, more than a glimmer of it, it was my favourite of all the dances shared: A swirling femininity and a sacred celebration of the self, in community. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Linda Crosfield

Linda Crosfield, Rodeo Nights (2014)
Linda Crosfield, Rodeo Nights

Linda Crosfield, Rodeo Nights
Linda Crosfield, Rodeo Nights

It was my pleasure to meet Linda Crosfield at the recent Cascadia Poetry gathering. Her warm and earthy poems were one of the many highlights of the gathering. Above is a sampling from her 2014 chapbook, Rodeo Nights, bound in hand-painted Amate bark paper from Mexico, where this collection was published (La Manzanilla del Mar, to be precise).

Many of the poems are prefaced with an epigraph drawn from George Bowering's 1970 chapbook, Imago No 12, Sitting in Mexico. Drawn in by the exquisite covers, I stayed to enjoy the poems.

Linda's passion for poetry extends to a line of chapbook productions, NIB (Nose in Book) Press, based in Castlegar BC (most of the time). Rodeo Nights is one sample, and this 2013 collection of new Mexico meditations, some forty years on from the Imago collection, is another:

Of this recent collection by George Bowering, she writes:

In Los Pájaros de Tenacatita George looks at life in general and Mexican life in particular—its birds, its kids, its visiting gringos—with depth, compassion and characteristic Bowering humour. Written in La Manzanilla del Mar, Mexico in January 2013,  each of the poems is a fulcrum which consists of six lines divided into couplets. Cuban poet, Pablo Medina, describes how he came up with the form here.


For more about Amate paper:


by Andy Thomson, National Film Board of Canada


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

elle vient

à travers les rues grises la banlieue
rêvée par les développeurs et
conçue pour les flots du trafic

la Grand-mère vert turquoise vient
s’approche sur sa super Truie
rejoint le champ de bataille

elle vient le long de l’autoroute en ruines
entre les repaires des crackheads vers le palais du cochonnet
où le moral des femmes s’élève hors

de l’horreur, de la crasse, comme
des dents avariées des os brisés
leur moral se conjugue et s’élève, s’élève

toutes nos sœurs mortes s’élèvent dans les bras des femmes ailées
habituées aux champs de batailles
conscientes de l’existence des champs de batailles, ici

comme au long de la route des larmes.

épaules dégagées
bras ouverts
torse bombé

Grand-mère vert turquoise respire
au rythme de chacun de ceux qui arpentent encore
les rues du centre-ville

nos virages sur les autoroutes tranquilles
nos histoires d’amour en pure perte
nos villages envahis

épaules dégagées
bras ouverts
torse bombé

elles accueillent le flot des sons intérieurs
le son de voix qui déclament des chants de tristesse
le son de nos tambours
qui s’élève à travers le temps et le ciel
le son de nos corps chauds voyageant en fuite
à travers les familles
et les forêts

épaules dégagées
bras ouverts
torse bombé

nous accompagnons nos sœurs nos frères jusqu’au seuil
nous les étreignons jusqu’à la fuite, et puis
nous les étreignons encore

nous accompagnons nos mères et nos pères
nous accompagnons nos enfants, nos amis, et ô combien d’étrangers, de pêcheurs d’étoiles

nous accompagnons nos mourants
nous plongeons profondément en nos mémoires

une à une nous les portons vers leur repos

épaules dégagées
bras ouverts
torse bombé

les larmes coulent de l’intérieur
filtrent dehors mouiller
nos peaux bigarrées

la douce caresse d’une paume chaude
dans la chevelure sur la tête d’un enfant

le toucher d’un amant et de l’aimé n’importe où, n’importe quand

la paume chaude de Grand-maman
sur la joue d’un de ses enfants adultes

ou sur le poil rude au dos de la Truie
qui vient

Poème par Joanne Arnott
Version originale anglaise : She is riding
Poème traduit de l’anglais par Daniel Canty
Révision linguistique par Pierrette Tostivint


Connexion poésie ~ Se brancher sur la poésie canadienne  (vidéos)

Pour en savoir plus sur les poètes en vedettes ainsi que leurs œuvres au

Poetry Connection ~ Link Up with Canadian Poetry (videos)

Learn more about the featured poets and their work at

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Cascadia Poetry Festival

D McCloskey's 2014 map unveiled at Cascadia Poetry Festival                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Paul Nelson opening MayDay (WD Fulton)

Heidi Greco on MayDay (WD Fulton)

Robert Lashley in performance (D Dinsmore)
Meredith Nelson in the Living Room (L Crosman)

Joanne Kyger + George Stanley @ The Spring Center (K Goldberg)

c'est moi on the final day (WD Fulton)

Landscapes/Actions/Embodiment panel with Lynn Russo et al. (WD Fulton)

CPF small press fair @ Seattle U (K Goldberg)

Mayday began for me as she usually does, making sure everyone gets up on time, helping with lunches, and (an annual event) wishing my youngest son Jules a very happy birthday. Not long after the kids went to school, things took a turn toward the unusual, and persisted in that vein for a five day period.

There was a knock on the door, and the moment i opened, a poetry reading commenced, there on my porch: Heidi Greco, performing "The Power that Belies Her Beauty" (Siren Tatoo: A Poetry Triptych, Anvil, 1994). I was completely and utterly enchanted, and so began my experience of Cascadia Poetry Festival, with one who had been to Cascadia I.

I had prayed to St Mahmud of the Travelling Poets, however, I was glad to have Ms Greco easing the way, too.

We had such an enormously positive experience at the Cascadia Poetry Festival, perhaps the poached pics (links to sources below) will suggest some of the diversity of inputs and experiences. I was able to get to know many west coast Canpo practitioners better than i had before, and to meet and greet many USAmericoPo practitioners, too.

What drew us together was a vision that transcends boundaries: from geologic underpin to the weather, from geopolitic to geopoetic: it was a wonderful feast of show and tell, from panel-discussions and debriefs to "open and democratic" poetry readings, high school visit for the Force Field poets, and much more.

Someone I hadn't anticipated meeting (but did):

Black Madonna, Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University (2 images by Joe Mabel)

Steve Helmer sculpture @ St Ignatius Chapel (D DeLong)

Deep thanks to all who made it happen, + to all who arrived + took part. See you in Nanaimo!

Documentary photographers #CascadiaPoetryLinda Crosfield (poet)Warren Dean Fulton (poet)Kim Goldberg (poet), Danika Dinsmore (poet) + wikimedia user Jmabel + DanDeLong, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (2001).
Map (c) David McCloskey, 2014

For Heidi Greco's reflections on sources + her own favourite moments, visit her blog

Kim Goldberg's reflections + photo essay on her blog

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Garry Thomas Morse: Geomantic Ripostes

Photo by Garry Thomas Morse, J2

Geomantic Ripostes
Imagine an experiment set in some Idea of North where a jaded overtly self-important poet of First Nations’ extract is sent into exile from his West Coast ancestral seat after a gripping Tribal Council and dropped down in a bitterly cold prairie city in Canada ... (read in full)

I was delighted to find A Night for the Lady in the outstanding company of other world-adjusting or world-balancing poetic utterances, by Garry Thoma Morse. His series is published on Jacket2 website, and well worth the visit!

Geomantic Riposte: A Night for the Lady

The full menu-in-progress, GR@J2: