wabigoonReviewed by Christine McFarlane

Wabigoon River Poems is written by award winning writer David Groulx and covers a wide range of social justice issues within a global context. In order to fully understand the breadth of the poetry that Groulx writes, one must take in each poem they read slowly.

By reading slowly, it is like ingesting every powerful word and letting yourself fall into the depths of each word that is written. For an example there is the poem “Why Are They Called White People,” where Groulx bluntly says

“Why are they called White people

and not immigrants

colonists

settlers

or

killers

or kidnappers

or

thieves”

 This poem clearly speaks historically of the unsettling relations between non-Native and Native peoples in the past but also in the present. We just need to think of the impact of colonialist policies imposed upon our people-the Indian Act, the residential school system etc.

Another poem that really struck me was “On Seeing a Photograph of My Mother At St. Joseph Residential School for Girls,” where Groulx metaphorically speaks of the sadness that encompasses the image he sees off his mother in a picture from residential school and the storm that ensues from her survival.

“Some of the girls in the picture are smiling. You are not Your

eyes staring into the camera Seem a million miles away

That stare I will see seldom and one day understand that

Storms begin millions of miles away”

Wabigoon River Poems is breathtakingly beautiful. The poems tackle a wide range of issues such as genocide, revolution, and survival. David Groulx does not just speak of Indigenous struggles but he also places other battles, other atrocities and other genocides committed worldwide.

Wabigoon River is 58 pages, and is published by Kegedonce Press. ISBN 978-1-928120-01-8