The Mi’kmaq Anthology, Volume Two: In Celebration of the Life of Rita Joe

Edited by Theresa Meuse, Lesley Choyce and Julia Swan (Pottersfield)

Fourteen years ago, The Mi’kmaq Anthology was published. Elder Rita Joe, poet laureate of the Mi’kmaq people, known for poems such as “I Lost my Talk” and “Five Hundred Years,” approached Lesley Choyce with the idea of inspiring Mi’kmaq writers and compiling their works to form the collection. When Theresa Meuse heard of Joe’s passing in 2007, she knew it had to be done: a second anthology paying tribute to the woman who encouraged members of her community to express their joy and pain with words. Volume Two consists of poems, cultural and historical essays and stories of traditional tales or personal memoirs penned by 21 Mi’kmaq writers. Daniel N. Paul’s insightful, oh-so-touching story on the racism his family faced in the ’30s, ’40s and beyond and Eva Apukjij’s vivid memories through lyrical verse are just some examples. Also included are several of Joe’s poems. A section of one reads: “The solid part of our identity is sharing/That is why we are here today/We are survivors.”

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