Books·Poetry Month

'He speaks the truth': Why Joseph A. Dandurand recommends reading TREATY# by Armand Garnet Ruffo

Poet Joseph A. Dandurand, author of The Rumour, SH:LAM and The East Side of It shares a Canadian poetry collection that is meaningful to him.
Joseph A. Dandurand recommends reading TREATY# by Armand Garnet Ruffo. (Wolsak & Wynn, Mawenzi House)

April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we reached out to poets and asked them what Canadian poetry book has been meaningful to them.

Joseph A. Dandurand is a poet from the Kwantlen First Nation. His poetry collections include The RumourSH:LAM (The Doctor) and I Will Be Corrupted. His 2020 poetry collection The East Side of It All was a Canadian finalist for the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Dandurand noted that a Canadian poetry collection that means a lot to him is TREATY# by Ojibway filmmaker, writer and poet Armand Garnet Ruffo. 

TREATY# was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.

"Armand Garnet Ruffo's newest book of poems, TREATY#, is one of my favourite books of poetry and I highly recommend it for all Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers.

"Armand and I met close to 30 years ago in Ottawa. It was just after the Oka Crisis and there was a group of radical poets who decided to form a group of writers and that would flame the embers of a revolution within Canada by the Indigenous people, who by now had had enough and the moment in time at Oka was enough.

He speaks the truth. His style is so unique and over the years it has become as clear as any storyteller can get.

"We never did. We had a few meetings and they were spent trying to come up with the right acronym for our group. My favourite was O.I.N.K: Ottawa Indian Native Kreators… I think. But we settled on: W.I.N.O: Writers Independent Native Organization. There was Armand and myself, Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm and the Deleary brothers. We were quite radical or so I thought I was.

"Now Armand and I find ourselves still today writing books of poems and we still are radical in our ways but I think he has matured so much in his writings and TREATY# is a true reflection of that. He speaks the truth. His style is so unique and over the years it has become as clear as any storyteller can get.

"I truly recommend my good friend's book of poems: TREATY#."

LISTEN | Joseph A. Dandurand on Q:

The Griffin Poetry Prize is one of Canada's most prestigious prizes for poetry. In the lead up to the announcement of this year's winner on June 23, we've aired readings from two of the three Canadian shortlisted finalists. Last up is Joseph Dandurand with a poem from his latest collection, The East Side of It All, published by Nightwood Editions.

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