Books

Joshua Whitehead recommends Totem Poles & Railroads by Janet Rogers

Every day in June, an Indigenous writer will recommend a book they love by a First Nations, Métis or Inuit author from Canada.
Joshua Whitehead's first book of poetry will debut fall 2017. (Joshua Whitehead/ARP Books)

June is Indigenous Book Club Month. CBC Books will publish a recommendation each day from an Indigenous writer for a book written by another Indigenous author. 

Joshua Whitehead recommends Totem Poles & Railroads by Janet Rogers.

"Janet Rogers gifts us a primer in resurgence with Totem Poles & Railroads, one that sings in a voice both 'unique and dangerous.' Sometimes that resurgence is a resurrection as with her invocation of Sacajawea, Pocahontas and Tekahionwake; sometimes her resurgence becomes reactionary as with her Allen Ginsberg clapback, 'Bowel. My Answer to Howl'; sometimes that resurgence becomes about relations as we re-member in 'We Are All Michael Brown'; and sometimes her resurgence is romantic, a surge of eroticism that links land to bodies, ferality to sexuality, sex to medicine in her bear poems 'Bears Repeating' and 'Bear Love.' I think of Totem Poles & Railroads as if she was my kokum: I listen fiercely, learn wisely and leave with a belly full of story. If Rogers asks you to 'point to the part on your body that is home,' listen to her, I promise you'll better yourself from it. "

Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree Two-Spirit storyteller from Peguis First Nation. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Calgary where he focuses on Indigenous Literatures and Cultures. His first book of poetry, full-metal indigiqueer, will debut fall 2017. You can find more of his work in Prairie Fire, CV2, EVENT, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Malahat Review and Red Rising Magazine. Check out his piece mihkokwaniy.

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