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nakamowin sa for the seasons

Author: Rita Bouvier
ISBN: 9781771870559 Categories: Poetry, American, Canadian, Native American, Women Authors
Publication Date: 31 March, 2015
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5"

Rita Bouvier’s third collection of poetry na?amowin’sa for the seasons reflects her experiences as a both a Métis woman and guide to the history of relations with indigenous peoples and the thinking that gives rise to injustice and inequity in the world. Her poems often focus on the sacred relationship to the land and changing seasons that are central to the imaginative and creative thinking of the Cree, Dene, and Métis cultures of the prairies. Drawing on her upbringing in the Île-à-la-Crosse region – once a hub of the fur trade in the old Northwest Territories – Bouvier injects colour into her poetry through the use of Cree/Michif language, reminding readers of her cultural distinctiveness. As her ideas are revealed in the work, she exposes how much has changed as western ideals have seeped into indigenous culture and questions whether her people have lost their way.

Bouvier can be political as in “oh, how my Métis blood boils” when she calls for recognition of the individual spirit rather than reducing a group to a collective pronoun. She can also be reproachful when she pokes her dexterous fingers into the wounds left behind by history. Yet she attempts to bring forth healing and reconciliation through acknowledgement of past traumas and advocating forgiveness, joy, and thankfulness as the way forward.

Images of the natural world and a people often forgotten by history dominate the collection as Bouvier creates an awareness that Saskatchewan is a place rich not only in natural resources but also flush with history and stories that have made it distinctive. na?amowin’sa for the seasons reveals our fragile relationships to one another and to the natural world that sustains us.

Whether discussing the joys and trials of family life with poems such as “nigosis is sweet and sixteen” and “my grandmother’s hands”, offering her own take on history in “songs to sing” and “measured time”, or exploring Métis identity in “I have something important to say” and “Indigenous Man 2”, Bouvier captures the essence of a life that can be “joyful/one minute and then. agony”. Yet she always encourages the reader to become caught in the movement and beauty of life – dance, breathe, listen and, of course, sing.

About the Author

Rita Bouvier is an educator and a writer. She has published two collections of poetry with Thistledown Press, Blueberry Clouds (1999) and papîyâhtak (2004), and has been nominated for several Saskatchewan Book Awards. Bouvier’s poetry has been translated into Spanish and German, and her work has appeared in literary anthologies and musical and television productions. In 2008 the Gabriel Dumont Institute published a collaborative children’s book with artists Sherry Farrell-Racette and Margaret Gardiner and featuring the title poem from papîyâhtak titled Better That Way. Bouvier lives in Saskatoon.

Reviews

Blueberry Clouds

“Bouvier sets wide-ranging goals for her writing. This book of poetry attempts many of those things, and, at times, succeeds. She does, indeed, write of her experiences, which reflect images of herself, her Métis culture and the human condition. She writes simply and with the power to illuminate.” -Terry Vatrt

papîyâhtak

“Rita Bouvier is a journeyer who searches along the way. Her poems are unafraid to take chances; they are complex in emotion, unsparing in intellect.” -Zocalopoets.com

“Bouvier’s poems have a political energy, but they are more about the politics of being human rather than, overtly, the politics of colonialism.” -Patrick Carroll, Prairie Fire

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