On January 16 award-winning Ottawa poet Shane Rhodes will be launching his latest book of poetry, X, which was inspired by one of Canada’s most unpoetic subjects: Canada’s post-confederation treaties and the recent Idle No More protests. Investigating what the treaties mean today and what art can do with such unpoetic documents, X breaks new ground for Canadian poetry and the results have been published in magazines across Canada, Australia and the United States.
Rhodes states, “Canada’s treaties represent one of the largest colonial land appropriation projects in the world. The documents are still vitally important to understanding Canada today and ongoing settler, First Nations, Inuit and Metis relationships. They are also key to understanding the recent Idle No More protests and the hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence. I wanted to use poetry to show how it is vital that Canadians know about the treaties and what they mean.”
Rhodes has just returned from three months in Brisbane, Australia where he held the prestigious 2013 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence position. As the official Poet-in-Residence, he was paid to travel around Queensland give readings, talk about poetry and host workshops. His treaty poetry and poetry about Idle No More sparked a lot of interest and there will be exhibitions of his visual poems in the coming months in Cairns and Brisbane, Australia.
Shane will launch X in the Arts Court at the Ottawa Art Gallery (2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa) at 8:00 PM on Thursday, January 16, 2014. The launch will also feature the screening of visual and video poems that Rhodes created during his Australian residency.
Shane Rhodes is the author of five other books of poetry including Err (Nightwood Editions), which was a finalist for the 2012 Ottawa Book Award, and The Wireless Room (NeWest Press), which won the Alberta Book Award for poetry. He is also the recipient of a National Magazine Gold Award and the P. K. Page Founder’s Award for Poetry. Rhodes lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where he is the poetry editor for Arc, Canada’s national poetry magazine.