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Deaf Heaven

Poetry that takes us inside present-day First Nations reality to reveal the wounds of history and the possible healing to come.

As the title suggests, this new collection of poetry from Garry Gottfriedson of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation deals with the ways in which the world is deaf to the problems First Nations people face in Canada today.

Follow Garry Gottfriedson in this new collection of combative poems as he compels us and Heaven to listen to the challenges facing First Nation communities today. Employing many of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) images and stories, Gottfriedson takes us inside the rez and into the rooming houses in the city cores, but always drawing new strength from the land and the people who have moved upon it. He speaks of “the smell of grandmothers and grandfathers / breathing the stories into our blood” so as to “wrap our newborn in freshly made Star Quilts.”

Gottfriedson examines such issues as the Truth and Reconciliation movements as well as the missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The poems focus not only on postcolonial issues but also on First Nations internal problems. Although the book speaks of age-old themes, it explores them through fresh modern eyes offering thought-provoking and engaging prespectives. Eloquent and witty, these poems are power-packed with imagery that uncovers the raw politics of race. There is nothing polite about them. While frequently offering a bleak view of present-day First Nation conditions, the poems also provide a sense of optimism: "the hope/that the coldest day in winter/will promise serenity in spring."

“Gottfriedson’s poetry is built to endure and it will remain with you long after this book is closed.” – Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting, finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

“Garry Gottfriedson rides double, calling out the violence and corruption he’s seen, while reminding us that grounded strength comes from staying connected to grandmothers, grandfathers, horses, and the land.” – Rita Wong, author of Forage, winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

“Gottfriedson writes us the sound of his blood, the splatter of ink on wood, and the dripping sweat and tears of prayer — all of it telling us who we are and chanting, as if in chorus, ‘survival is brilliant.’ Will we be wise or strong enough to listen?” – Shane Rhodes, author of X: Poems & Anti-Poems

Educator Information
This book of poetry would be useful for Indigenous Studies courses or literature courses such as Indigenous Literatures, Canadian Literature, and Creative Writing.

Additional Information
100 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"