Books·Canadian

I place you into the fire

I place you into the fire is a book by Rebecca Thomas.

Rebecca Thomas

In Mi'kmaw, three similarly shaped words have drastically different meanings: kesalul means "I love you"; kesa'lul means "I hurt you"; and ke'sa'lul means "I put you into the fire." In spoken-word artist and critically acclaimed author (I'm Finding My Talk) Rebecca Thomas's first poetry collection, readers will feel Thomas's deep love, pain, and frustration as she holds us all to task, along the way mourning the loss of her childhood magic, exploring the realities of growing up off reserve, and offering up a new Creation Story for Canada.

Diverse and probing, I place you into the fire is at once a meditation on navigating life and love as a second-generation Residential School survivor, a lesson in unlearning, and a rallying cry for Indigenous justice, empathy, and equality. A searing collection that embodies the vitality and ferocity of spoken-word poetry. (From Nimbus Publishing)

Rebecca Thomas is a Mi'kmaw writer living in Nova Scotia. She was the Halifax poet laureate from 2016 to 2018. She is also the author of the children's book I'm Finding My Talk, which is a poem responding to the iconic Rita Joe poem  I Lost My Talk.

Interviews with Rebecca Thomas

In Mi’kmaw, three similarly shaped words have drastically different meanings: kesalul means “I love you”; kesa’lul means “I hurt you”; and ke’sa’lul means “I put you into the fire.” Former Halifax poet laureate Rebecca Thomas uses these Mi’kmaw phrases to underpin her first book of poetry, I Place You Into the Fire. Thomas joined Tom Power to discuss how her poetry serves as a rallying cry for Indigenous justice, empathy and equality. 18:08
June is National Indigenous History Month and in celebration, we invited a special book columnist, Rebecca Thomas, to recommend some of her top picks by Indigenous authors. Thomas is a Mi'kmaw author and poet from Dartmouth, N.S., and the former poet laureate of Halifax. She published her first children's picture book last fall, called I'm Finding My Talk. In her discussion with Tom Power, she talked about the following books: The Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, and Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson. 8:03
Rebecca Thomas is an award-winning Mi’kmaw poet. She is Halifax’s former Poet Laureate (2016-2018) and has been published in multiple journals and magazines. 'I Place You into the Fire' is her first poetry collection. This is a portion of our conversation. 14:03

Not Perfect, by Rebecca Thomas

CBC News Nova Scotia

4 years ago
3:09
Halifax's poet laureate Rebecca Thomas on the legacy of Edward Cornwallis. 3:09

Rebecca Thomas performs ‘A Toast to the Mixes’

New Fire

4 years ago
2:26
Rebecca Thomas’ poem A Toast to the Mixes is an homage to Indigenous people with mixed ancestry - ‘the halves’ and ‘the mixes’. 2:26
Streets, schools and rivers in Halifax are named for the city's founder, Edward Cornwallis. But Rebecca Thomas, the first Mi'kmaq poet laureate of Halifax, is one of many questioning his violent history with Mi'kmaq people. 12:56
Rebecca Thomas calls out cultural appropriation with poetry; Why Royal Canoe are hand-delivering albums to fans; Gillian Findlay previews the fifth estate's new podcast; Emmanuel Jal's latest venture for peace is a cafe. 1:44:52
Growing up, Rebecca Thomas always knew her father was Mi'kmaw. But as a child it wasn’t clear what that meant for her - she saw a disconnect between his identity and her own. Thomas describes her journey to understanding her own sense of being Mi'kmaw. 8:41
Mic Mac Mall - an offensive name on a well-known place. Former Halifax poet laureate Rebecca Thomas meets Rosanna meet to discuss the importance of correcting the name. 7:23
For the United Nations' International Year of Indigenous Languages, initiatives to strengthen ties between Indigenous people and their languages are being taken up across the world. This week on Unreserved, stories of reclamation and revitalization of Indigenous languages. 38:25
June is National Indigenous History Month and in celebration, we invited a special book columnist, Rebecca Thomas, to recommend some of her top picks by Indigenous authors. Thomas is a Mi'kmaw author and poet from Dartmouth, N.S., and the former poet laureate of Halifax. She published her first children's picture book last fall, called I'm Finding My Talk. In her discussion with Tom Power, she talked about the following books: The Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, and Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson. 8:03

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