The Thunderbird Poems takes its inspiration from the art and life of the acclaimed Ojibway artist Norval Morrisseau. Like Morrisseau's visual art itself, the poems vividly bring us to the centre of the artist's worldview. Employing both lyrical and narrative strategies, the poetry incorporates extensive research into Morrisseau's life, including interviews with Morrisseau himself and the people closest to him. They further draw upon the diverse sources of Morrisseau's art, including Ojibway epistemology and iconography, exemplified in the ancient "birchbark scrolls" and the pictographs of the Anishinaabe, and the influences of New Age religion, modern art, and popular culture. The Thunderbird Poems crafts language into a provocative suite of unwavering poetry that transports the reader from the heights of a thunderbird to the depths of a dank alley to provide illuminating insight into the painter's iconic visual vocabulary.
About the author
Armand Ruffo is the author of three books of poetry, Opening In the Sky (Theytus Books, 1994), Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney (Coteau Books, 1997) and At Geronimo's Grave (Coteau Books, 2001). He has also edited and co-edited (Ad)Dressing Our Words: Aboriginal Perspectives on Aboriginal Literatures (Theytus Books, 2001) and An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English (Oxford University Press, 2013). His screenplay, A Windigo's Tale, has been shown across Canada and at film festivals internationally. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Queen's University, and lives in Kingston, ON.