Daniel Coleman is looking to find a home. After a childhood that left him feeling placeless, he ended up in Hamilton, Ontario, one of Canada's most polluted cities at the time. Yardwork is his attempt to put down roots in a place he never expected to be. Coleman decided he wanted to truly know and belong to a small piece of land, his patch of garden on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, to deeply understand its ecology, landscape and history. Starting with the creation myths and geology, moving through the settler era and up to the present, Coleman pours his considerable talents into learning, and sharing, as much of the story of the land as possible. Most books on ecology focus either on protecting the wilderness or analyzing a toxic dump. Most books on gardens focus on plant health or landscape design. Most books on Indigenous-settler relations focus on politics or social inequities. Yardwork meditates on the sedimentary layers of ecological, cultural and political stories that make up Hamilton, the escarpment city at the Head of the Lake. Along the way Coleman strives to build a new awareness of the place where he lives as sacred land.
About the author
After finishing high school in Ethiopia, Daniel Coleman earned university degrees at the University of Regina and the University of Alberta. He now holds the Canada Research Chair in Critical Ethnicity and Race Study in the English department of McMaster University. Daniel Coleman is a leading researcher in the depiction of immigrant men in Canadian literature. He has won the John Charles Polanyi Prize for his study of how literary texts produce and reinforce categories of cultural identification such as gender, ethnicity and nationality. His critically acclaimed book, Masculine Migrations: Reading the Postcolonial Male in "New Canadian" Narratives, published in 1998 by University of Toronto Press, is considered the foundational Canadian work in the field. While being a bahir-zaff throughout his childhood brought Daniel Coleman the pain of never fully belonging, it also gave him the immeasurable benefits and insights of an intercultural life. Several of his essays on his missionary childhood have appeared in magazines and journals. "The Babies in the Colonial Washtub," included in a revised form in The Scent of the Eucalyptus, won a Silver Medal in the National Magazine Awards.
"In Coleman's work, paying close attention to the ground we stand on becomes a spiritual act. He reminds readers too that the more we focus in on a small space, the bigger it grows — and the more it can tell us about the larger world, the global network of which the one small place and all of its inhabitants are a part. The book will encourage all readers to engage in this kind of intensive "Place Thought" as a way to connect with the natural world to which they belong." - Hamilton Review of Books
Other titles by Daniel Coleman
Beyond "Understanding Canada"
Transnational Perspectives on Canadian Literature
A Tale of Saskatchewan
Retooling the Humanities
The Culture of Research in Canadian Universities
The Creativity and Resilience of Indigenous and Refugee-ed Peoples
Narratives of Citizenship
Indigenous and Diasporic Peoples Unsettle the Nation-State
In Bed with the Word
Reading, Spirituality, and Cultural Politics
The Literary Project of English Canada
ReCalling Early Canada
Reading the Political in Literary and Cultural Production
Scent of Eucalyptus
A Missionary Childhood in Ethiopia