We are so proud to announce The World Poetry Empowered Poet Award to Wanda John-Kehewin and celebrate the launch of her new book “In The Dog House” on April 2o , 1:30 pm at the The World Poetry Canada International Peace Festival in 2013 at the magnificent Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at the University of British Columbia! Come out to support this inspiring poet! She will also be on the World Poetry February 6th 9-10 pm on CFRO 100.5 fm I will post the link after the show.
BIO of Wanda John-Kehewin
Wanda John-Kehewin has studied Criminology, Sociology, Aboriginal studies and creative writing with Simon Fraser University’s’ TWS Writing Program. She uses writing as a therapeutic medium to understanding and responding to the near decimation of First Nations culture, language and tradition. She has been published in Quills Poetry, Salish Seas, UBC’s Aboriginal Anthology, SFU’s Emerge anthology. She has shared her writing Co-op Radio and performed at numerous readings throughout the lower mainland, also Reading for The Writer’s Union Guild of Canada. Her work is raw and her honesty is a reflection of the amount of suffering the ancestors of the past have endured. She gives her mother a voice who was never heard, but who now has a voice. She credits her children and her own want for healing to be the vehicle to understanding the ripple effects of colonization. The writing process, is her way to bridge the gap between loss and to understand the reasons for those losses. Her first book of poetry “In The Dog House” comes out in April 2013.
Summary of upcoming book:
“In The Dog House”, has been written for those who are First Nations who will understand pain and loss through forthright honesty. It has also been written for those who wish to understand about the effects of colonization on a personal level, through a First Nation woman’s perspective. The book contains raw honesty about the loss of culture and finding ways to adapt through reflection and stumbling upon ‘right’ answers. It discusses taboo topics like alcohol addiction, abandonment, religion, sexual abuse and trying to understand it all through the creative writing process and finally giving up the shame and stigma.
“In The Dog House”, is a healing journey of sorts, a way of standing in my truth and a way to give others, like my mother a voice. It is about the love of Mother Nature and the quest for love even when I don’t understand what it is. Can anyone really describe a normal kind of love or a love so perfect without ever having had an example? This book touches on a bit of everything in my being as a First Nations woman searching for the truth and a way to be set free from the past.
The influences to write this book have been my children and the lost children who have lost a parent or both as a way to delve into another’s pain and bring about understanding so the abandonment is not personal anymore, but a life lesson in strength, understanding and leaving space for personal growth for oneself and for future generations. I have also been influenced by friends whose stories are so like my own that I can find the strength to be raw and honest and know I am not alone and that we relate to other human beings through pain, suffering and loss.
Links to her upcoming book:
Link to the Bio: at Talonbooks
This featured poem was written for people of Japan for the earthquake in 2011.
When the earthquake happened my heart broke for all people who lost their loved ones. I imagined how lost and alone they were feeling and I wrote what I imagined loved ones wanted to say to those they never got to say goodbye to.
One Thousand Cranes
Someone set sail one thousand cranes last night in the spirit world of amethyst dreams. Someone wished the sun to kiss your cheeks and opalescent moon beams to paint light in the darkness so you never lose your way.
Someone dreamt of a painted sea turtle, last night who knew one thousand secrets who was the keeper of the door way to the spirit world that sits on the oceans edges-he said.
Someone wished for you last night an orchard of cherry blossoms dancing gracefully in the wind reminding you to be gentle and kind to yourself and never forget to dance in the wind as cherry blossoms soar in warm winds, dance with them just be and remember me- they said.
Someone dreamt of you in the spirit world last night in a valley of fuchsia baby azaleas and a white camellia in your hair reminding you to patiently wait for the sea turtles secrets at the edge of the ocean.
Someone wished for you last night one thousand cranes to guide you to them in the twilight and astral of your sleep- They say when sorrow is too great they do not want to come too soon for you may never want to leave the dream world- And so they wait at the edge of your dreams with love resonating, encompassing you, for love has no timeline and reaches beyond the edges of the human sorrow.
Someone whispered to you last night, you will dream of them on a white Manchurian crane when you are ready to let their essence into the light and finally smile when you think of them; place blue bells in the lightest room to remind you of how grateful they were to know you and love you. Place lavender under your pillow for tender dreams where loved ones meet And we will fold one thousand cranes in a field of flowering sweet pea flowers and budding zinnia and we will let soar one thousand cranes over a thousand dreams above our temporary goodbye and we will have wished someone else peace, love, strength, light in the darkness- And one thousand cranes…
Wanda John-Kehewin (C)