Stutter-stepping. The last fumes out
of Ontario. Beds and sliding doors and dining cars tunnelling
through the forest, its genealogy
of clear-cut, its firework trees new and hot.
We show them our ghost stations. We show them
tea at the window as birch die tangled
in power lines, birch hauling lines
down to the level of marsh, and marsh rising
to meet electricity.
— from "Number One Canadian"
I recently received the happy news that Settler Education has gone into a second printing. This book has had a good, modest, lengthy life: originally published in 2016, it still has a bit of a readership five years later, which is not often the case with books of poetry. Teachers are assigning it in their English and writing classes; I receive missives every so often from students asking about certain poems from the book as they prepare presentations and toil away at essays.
So, to celebrate this book's long life, I will be reading poems from it on Sunday, February 21, at 3 p.m. EST, and I hope you can tune in. Simply click this link and you're there. (You can also subscribe to my dusty old YouTube channel, if you're the type who goes in for ambient train videos and the odd poetry reading.)
Settler Education revolves around the Frog Lake "Massacre" and the Northwest Resistance, and it attempts to drag these moments of formidable Indigenous and Métis leadership, and profound settler cruelty and ignorance, from the prairies to Ontario, from an obscured past into an urgent, unjust present. It's a book that looks at the settler end of the bargain, the ways we're not holding up our end, and the profound lack of knowledge we have about how to meaningfully take up our end. I'm giving part of each sale of the book from my website to the Legacy of Hope Foundation, to help with this process of education in some small way. You can order a copy of the book from my website if you wish to contribute, or consider donating directly to the Legacy of Hope Foundation—or any number of Indigenous-led organizations doing crucial, ameliorative work—whilst ordering the book from your favourite independent bookstore.
Hope to see you Sunday,
Sunday's reading is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through The Writers’ Union of Canada's National Public Readings Program.