Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

David Groulx

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David Groulx was raised in the Northern Ontario mining community of Elliot Lake. He is proud of his Native roots — his mother is Ojibwe Indian and his father is French Canadian. David received his BA from Lakehead University, where he won the Munro Poetry Prize. He also studied creative writing at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton, British Columbia, where he won the Simon J. Lucas Jr. Memorial Award for poetry. Rising with a Distant Dawn is David’s fifth poetry book and his sixth poetry collection, Imagine Mercy, is scheduled for publication by BookLand Press in March 2013. David’s poetry has also appeared in over a hundred periodicals in Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Austria, Turkey and the USA. He lives in Ottawa.

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The Proust Questionnaire, with David Groulx

David Groulx is Open Book's November 2012 Writer in Residence. In his answer to the Proust Questionnaire, David tells us his dream of happiness, his favourite authors and more.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.


What is your dream of happiness? Good friends, good music, cold beer. What is your idea of misery? 
Hospital stays.

Rising with a Distant Dawn

By David Groulx

Rising with a Distant Dawn is a powerful and moving poetry collection, which stretches across the boundaries of skin colour, language, and religion to give voice to the lives and experiences of ordinary Aboriginal Canadians. The poems embrace anguish, pride, and hope. They come from the woodlands and the plains, they speak of love, of war, and of the known and the mysterious, they strike with wisdom, joy, and sadness, bringing us closer than ever before to the heart of urban Aboriginal life. The book captures timely personal and cultural challenges, and ultimately shares subtle insight and compassion. This poetry collection is an ambitious, lasting, and meaningful work of literature that will not soon fade away. It is an exceptional reading experience to be enjoyed and savoured.

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

Deaf Jam

Premiering November 3, 2011. Check local listings:

Aneta Brodski and her classmates perform in their first ASL Poetry Performance at Lexington School for the Deaf. Aneta wows everyone with an animated description of her own conception and birth.

LRC Themed Issues

The Literary Review of Canada recently announced that beginning in the new year, their submission policy will be of themed issues. Some of these themes will be poems on the elements—e.g. fire, earth, water, air, wood, poems inspired by food , among others. One of the first theme will be, poems from the margins, e.g. pieces from/about our prisons, reserves, North, rural areas, etc. When I saw this I began to wonder why it is that Canadians equate reserves with prisons (and perhaps even Indians with prisoners).

Anna Yin reads at the 100,000 Poets for Changes event

Why I Can’t Attend Poetry Readings

The other night I attended a poetry reading here in the capital of the country. It was the second poetry reading I’ve sat through in over ten years and probably the third reading I’ve attended in nearly twenty. It seems to be a pattern for me now; attend a poetry reading at least once every ten years or so. I recall I was actually ask to leave a poetry reading once in Victoria for being too rowdy, imagine that, a poet being rowdy. I guess you could say I was bounced out. Every poet should try it, especially if you’re the featured reader. I was much younger then.

A Small Essay on the Largeness of Light

Vera Wabegijig

Marilyn Dumont reads three of her poems

Shifting the Ground of Canadian Literary Studies

Margaret Atwood Wasn’t Available

If anyone has been watching the book tour circuit that has been looking more and more like a circus, not that it always was. You will have noticed the inundation of CBC talk show hosts talking about their books to other CBC talk show hosts. Let go down the list; first there was Rick Mercer, host of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes talking to George Stroumboulopoulos about his book A Nation Worth Ranting About on CBC’s Tonight with George Stroumboulopoulos. Then there was Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC’s Q talking about his book 1982 with Shelagh Rogers host of the talk show, CBC’s The Next Chapter. Then there was Amada Lang, host of the The Lang & O'Leary Exchange, along with Kevin O’Leary; with her book, The Power of Why, on CBC’s talk show Peter Manbridge’s One on One.

Bad Indians A Poem by Ryan Red Corn of the 1491s

...If There Are No 3rd World Women Here...

Susan Blight reads "Maybe We Shouldn't Meet If There Are No 3rd World Women Here", a poem by Chrystos, for "Remembering The Forgotten Women of December 6th Week" on

Instruments From Oz or a Paranoid Indian

Smoke Signals The Native Takeback of North America's Tobacco Industry

Ontology of The parrot paradox

The story that North America was some kind of Eden started with Columbus, that idea is where the dehumanization of Indians (North American Natives) and this is where a lot of Aboriginal literature begins, here we begin to find our humanness. This is where White/colonial Canada begins discourse with/about Native Americans.
Our discourse is built on myths and misunderstandings and there cannot be any real communication on this continent until this one issue is resolved. Perhaps my poetry is a post, no a colonial point of view, an aboriginal meaning, struggling in English, a foreign language, but it was either English or remain silent. I could not have chosen silence.

Wrestling Muses

Sometimes I think writing poetry is like Jacob wrestling the angel, Poets wrestle the Muses till it taps out, surrendering it’s secret language. I used to think that poems had to be waited for, now I think that’s a lot of crap. Now I think it’s a lot of work and I believe the more you work at it the more it might improve, needless to say I have a lot of work ahead of me. I might be biased here, because I never expected to make it to the age I am now, but I think the most interesting writing comes from older poets. Youth has so little to say, and there are some things in my youth I never want to speak of, ok I am biased. Writing for me is an exploration of language and its meaning, sound, symbol, emotion, tone.

Ghazal Workshop with Sheniz Janmohamed

Waking Mishi-pishu

Waking Mishi-pishu

I grew up in a town named Elliot Lake. In the beginning it became renown as wilderness frontier, a place with many fresh waters lake teeming with fish and game abundant. A boom had started Elliot Lake, boom brought about by the Cold war. A small wild mining town built on the Canadian shield in Northern Ontario. From 1955 when the uranium was discovered to 1996 when the last mine closed it was known as the ‘Uranium capital of the world’. The cycle of boom and bust was well known to the people of Elliot Lake, and sometimes the town was brought down to its knees, like when the United States decided to stop stockpiling uranium for weapons. That’s when the Canadian government stepped in and started stockpiling Uranium to keep a few of the mines open.

Poets Occupy Cobourg

November 3, 2012, poets from across Ontario gathered at Impressario's for the Cobourg Poetry & Literary Festival weekend when they inexplicably took to the main street demanding "wit" and "Down With Doggerel" and the ubiquitous "Poetry is Poetency".

Re: Literary Landscapes March 10/11 (Appropriation)

Shane Rhodes (Poet) as I understand was not writing from the perspective of an aboriginal person, so it was not appropriation. Now if you look at some of the writings of W. P. Kinsella, particularly the Hobbema stories, Dance Me Outside and The Rez. Kinsella was critized by the aboriginal community for his use of stereotypes and accused of appropriation of Native Voice. This kind of thing has been going on in Canada for years. From Wacousta a novel by John Richardson published in 1832. It is a use of an Indian vehicle to tell a Whiteman’s story. Margaret Atwood appropriated aboriginal pictographs in her novel, Surfacing using them as a vehicle for her feminist ideas.

Poetry N boots

The recent assassination of Somali poet Warsame Shire Awale in Mogadishu, last Monday, although shocking, is a continuation of a long tradition of poets being murdered. Warsame Shire Awale, advocated non-violence and young people to resist Militant Islamic groups in the countryside. His death harkens back to a continuing recurrence in history that saw the murder of Guineas poet and politician Keita Fodeba, in 1969, and the list of poets who’ve died in Stalin’s gulag is too long to mention here, but I’ll give a try, Osip Mandelstam d. 1938 Peretz Markish d.1952 David Hofstein d.1952 Itzik Feffer d.1952 and Spain’s Garcia Lorca d. 1936 during the civil war there. English/Catholic poet Chidiock Tichborne d. 1586 (executed for conspiring to assassinate Queen Elizabeth).

Land, Poetry and Me

I recall living in the Okanagan valley. I was attending Enowkin writing school back then with Aboriginal students from across the country. During the winters the clouds would settle into the valley and pretty much stay there until spring, some of the staff at Enowkin would take the students, mostly students from the prairies up to the mountains. It was the worst time of year for people from the prairies, the depression seemed to have a much greater effect on them than anyone else. The feeling of confinement within the valley and everyday being cloudy, had a real negative effect on them.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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