Recommended Reading List
Celebrating Richard Wagamese
Download list
Please login or register to use this feature.

Celebrating Richard Wagamese

By 49thShelf
1 rating
rated!
rated!
We made this list when Richard Wagamese received the $20,000 Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life from the Writers' Trust of Canada in 2015. We're so sorry to hear of his death, and look forward to celebrating his remarkable work.
Medicine Walk

Medicine Walk

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : literary
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
Wagamese's latest book was nominated for the 2015 Forest of Reading Evergreen Award. The National Post called it "a masterpiece."
close this panel
Indian Horse

Indian Horse

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback eBook
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
A Canada Reads finalist, winner of their People's Choice Award, and winner of the First Nations Communities Reads program
close this panel
Runaway Dreams

Runaway Dreams

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : canadian
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
But did you know that he wrote poetry too? "These are Medicine teachings told from the experience of one who lived and still lives them. "
close this panel
One Story, One Song

One Story, One Song

edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback eBook
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
This is Wagamese's second non-fiction book, a collection of spiritual essays. It was winner of the 2011 George Rya Award for Social Awareness.
close this panel
Him Standing

Him Standing

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
More Info
Why it's on the list ...
This is Wagamese's most recent book in Orca's Rapid Reads series of books for low level adult readers.
close this panel
Dream Wheels
Excerpt

The Old Ones say that fate has a smell, a feel, a presence, a tactile heft in the air. Animals know it. It’s what brings hunter and prey together. They recognize the ancient call and there’s a quickening in the blood that drives the senses into edginess, readiness: the wild spawned in the scent. It’s why a wolf pack will halt their dash across a white tumble of snow to look at a man. Stand there in the sudden timeless quiet and gaze at him, solemn amber eyes dilating, the threat leaned forward before whirling as one dark body to disappear into the trees. They do that to return him to the wild, to make all things even once again: to restore proper knowledge. The Old Ones say animals bless a man with those moments by returning him to the senses he surrendered when he claimed language, knowledge and invention as power.

The great bull sensed it and it shivered. The loose skin draped across its bulk belied the tough muscle and sinew that gave locomotive strength to its movement in the chute. The smell was in the air. The ancient smell. It gave a new and different air to the harsh light and dust of the arena. This was old, this scent, causing something to stir in its Indian and Spanish blood that it had never encountered before. Not death, not threat, not challenge because the bull had faced those many times. No, this was more than that. This was more a bidding than an urge, a call forward, an invitation to spectacle, a beckoning to an edge the bull had never approached before. The bull shifted its eighteen hundred pounds and there wasn’t much room to spare on either side of its ribs. It didn’t like the feel of the wood, the closeness, the thin prick of rough-sawn board along its sides. The rage of others was dribbled into the board against its nose, and the bull shivered again and stamped its heavy cloven feet into the dirt of the arena floor. The noise of the crowd beyond the chutes rose and fell awkwardly against the babble of the cowboys tugging and rubbing and plying leather in preparation amidst the jingle of metal, the snap and rub and crinkle of hard rope and the clomp of booted feet and the whinny and nicker of horses unsettled by the turn of the air, the high, sharp slice of the ancient order that called to them now too. A moment was coming, a confrontation. The bull bellowed once and banged the sides of the chute.

Man feet scraped on the boards at its side, the side facing away from the open ocean of the infield: the man side. Out there, in the packed brown dirt rectangle pressed together by high wooden fencing, was his world, the one the bull controlled, the one they entered with the smell of fear high in the air. The men talked, their voices strained, tight in their throats, and the bull felt the abrasive itch of rope start around its shoulders. Just as the dull clank of cowbell rang beside him the bull caught the flare of action between the boards of the chute as another bull and rider exploded into the arena. The noise of the crowd swelled incredibly and there came the bashing and buckling sounds of leather, rope, bell, skin and bone crashing against each other amplified by roiling clouds of dirt that held it, gave it the shape and tone and snap of electrified energy. It didn’t last long. A long, drawn-out sigh accompanied the rider suddenly slammed into the dirt, the sound rising again as bright-costumed men raced about attracting the bull’s anger, diverting it away from the rider who scrambled to his feet, eyes ablaze with a strange mix of indignation and fear, and leaped for the security of the fencing. The great bull bellowed to its cousin in the infield and shook the sides of the chute in celebration of another display of power. The men around it spoke bravely to each other but the bull felt the anxiety creeping just beneath their words. It enjoyed that and it bellowed again.

The movement around the chute increased. Men in front of it were pulling rope against the gate that would soon fling open and send the bull careening into the light and heat and dirt of the battle. The men over top of its back moved silently, deliberately now, and the bull stamped and rolled back and forth, side to side, front to back in the chute forcing them to agitation, their words harsher to each other. The rope about its shoulders was secured and the clank belt set in place. The heavy clink and rattle of the bell angered the bull. It dangled beneath it heavy as another testicle but irksome, foreign, and as its weight settled the bull smelled the ancient smell again and rolled its eyes in their sockets to look upward at the men, rolling its head while it did so and giving the topmost boards a solid thwack and shiver.

It watched the young man climb the fence. Saw the set of his face, determined, calm and strong beneath the fear and felt the firm slap of his gloved hand on its neck as he leaned over, feet straddled on each side of the chute. The man bore the smell too. The bull shifted in the chute, made a small bit of room to accommodate the legs of this man who smelled so richly of that ancient call. It felt the dull rounded rowel of spur against its flank as the man slid into place and it shivered, the loose skin unsettling the man, feeling him grip with his thighs searching for hold, finding it and relaxing again. The bull snorted and half rose on its hind feet, twisting its head side to side and trumpeting the acceptance of this challenge and hearing the buzz of the crowd rise in time with its huge head over the top of the chute. The men spoke quicker, shorter words snapped at each other, and the bull felt the waxed rope being pulled tighter and tighter about its girth.

close this panel
Why it's on the list ...
Winner of the 2007 Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction
close this panel
Embers

Embers

One Ojibway's Meditations
edition:Paperback

"Life sometimes is hard. There are challenges. There are difficulties. There is pain. As a younger man I sought to avoid them and only ever caused myself more of the same. These days I choose to face life head on--and I have become a comet. I arc across the sky of my life and the harder times are the friction that lets the worn and tired bits drop away. It's a good way to travel; eventually I will wear away all resistance until all there is left of me is light. I can live towards that end."

--Ric …

More Info
comments powered by Disqus

There are two ways to make a reading list

This way:

  1. Click the "Create a New List" button just above this panel.
  2. Add as many books as you wish using the built-in search on the list edit page.

Or that way:

  1. Go to any book page.
  2. In the right-hand column, click on "Add to List." A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. From the drop-down menu, either add your book to a list you have already created or create a new list.
  4. View and edit your lists anytime on your profile page.
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...