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Ripping down half the trees

Ripping down half the trees

by Evan J

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Overview

Some poems can live without souls / but mine remain ghastly fools flicking / uncomfortable narratives like / cigarette butts during class change. One out of every twenty students in the adult education classes Evan J teaches in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, dies every year; the surviving students are often afflicted by severe racism, poverty, addictions, and violence. Ripping down half the trees engages with these struggles, offering a catalogue of experiences specific to the remote regions of Canada. Tearing down the façade of Canadian justice and equality to expose the racism, colonialism, sexism, prejudicial capitalism, and ableism at the nation's core, these are poems about cruelty, both the obvious and the ambient. They are unflinching in their sociopolitical criticism, upset by unchanging systemic oppressions, unable to overlook the threat of the author's white skin, unwilling to forget Justin Trudeau in blackface. And while they acknowledge the limits of the author's privileged perspective, they are never willing to let the perpetrating structures of this cruelty go unchecked. But these poems also let stand the shelterwood, the upstanding actions of individuals, the totems of hope. They work as coping strategies, as therapy, as empathy, offering a glimpse of optimism and a space for discourse. These are poems that listen.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780228005469
Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date: 06/01/2021
Series: The Hugh MacLennan Poetry Series , #60
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Evan J (he/him) is from Manitoba and now lives and writes in the town of Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Table of Contents

The Metro

Bloor-Yonge 3

The Ron from bottom up 6

If homelessness is a sandwich, our culture of silence is the bread 8

All the friends at the party 9

The Huldufólk meet Coyote 10

The violent orange hours 11

This falls deeper than rocks 13

Just over the mountain from Yaqui, Arizona 14

Invaders: Mystery Space Riders 15

Of course you do find spicy bits 17

Colonialism for dummies 19

Northwestern

Facing Fort William's Orphanage 23

Deciduous with answers 25

Spore prints 26

Probable cause misjudgment of altitude 27

How to pluck pheasant 29

How to clean walleye 31

How to pick blueberries 33

Today the twelve gauge 35

The fox 36

In the least desired corner 37

How to make a skull from the head of a bear delivered Tuesday in a grocery bag to the afternoon office meeting 38

All it takes is an artist and a knife 39

The boreal 41

Note to the people using old needles stolen from a public bathroom 42

Valhalla 43

This isn't about me or a title 44

Sioux Lookout

A synonym for raft is foundation 47

Beyond ear but open 48

Lunch meeting like spruce grouse 49

How to stay alive on the streets of Sioux Lookout 50

A Kingfisher named Bear 51

Chiffon unfinished 52

How to respond to hostility 54

Another death at the Learning Centre 56

Dermis to gold 57

Even if the child's lost, mothers never lose the title 59

It's no real pleasure in life 60

Bear paw and beast 61

How to write a poem about dead children 62

Barbless 63

How to fly home 64

None have bled on these streets more than Jim 65

Indivisible by all the rips 66

My prose poem from inside the precinct 67

This cannot be homage in verse 69

Re ember 71

Red Lake 23 73

The appropriate views of morning 74

Dysmorphia 75

In a small northern town 76

Lines on Larae leaving 78

To the boy pounding on our back door at midnight 79

To the man stabbed last week behind my back fence 81

Sometimes the storm wins 83

Pottery, an impossibility 86

Note to Readers 89

Notes 91

Acknowledgments 93

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