river woman

Category: Book
By (author): Vermette, Katherena
Subject:  POETRY / Canadian
  POETRY / Native American
  POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Nature
Publisher: House of Anansi Press Inc
Published: September 2018
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 112
Size: 8.50in x 5.50in
Our Price:
$ 19.95
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

Governor General's Award–winning Métis poet and acclaimed novelist Katherena Vermette's second work of poetry, river woman, examines and celebrates love as postcolonial action. Here love is defined as a force of reclamation and repair in times of trauma, and trauma is understood to exist within all times. The poems are grounded in what feels like an eternal present, documenting moments of clarity that lift the speaker (and reader) out of our preconceptions of historical time, while never losing a connection to history. This is what we mean when we describe a work of art as being "timeless."

Like the river they speak to, these poems return again and again to the same source in search of new ways to reconstruct what has been lost. Vermette suggests that it's through language and the body - particularly through language as it lives inside the body - that a fragmented self might resurface as once again whole. This idea of breaking apart and coming back together is woven throughout the collection as the speaker revels in the physical pleasures of learning Anishnaabemowin ("the language / I should have already known"), as she contemplates the ongoing negotiation between the natural world and urban structures, and as she finds herself falling into trust with the ones she loves.

Divided into four sections, and written in her distinctively lean and elegantly spare style, where short lines belie the depth within them, river woman explores Vermette's relationship to nature - its destructive power and beauty, its timelessness, and its place in human history. Here is a poet who is a keen observer of an environment that is both familiar and otherworldly, where her home is alive with the sounds and smells of the land it grows out of, where "Words / transcend ceremony / into everyday" and "Nothing / is inanimate."

From The Publisher*

Award–winning Métis poet and acclaimed novelist Katherena Vermette's second collection, river woman, explores her relationship to nature - its destructive power and beauty, its timelessness, and its place in human history.

Review Quote*

PRAISE FOR KATHERENA VERMETTE AND THE BREAK: WINNER, AMAZON.CA FIRST NOVEL AWARD WINNER, MARGARET LAURENCE AWARD FOR FICTION WINNER, CAROL SHIELDS WINNIPEG BOOK AWARD WINNER, MCNALLY ROBINSON BOOK OF THE YEAR WINNER, BURT AWARD FOR FIRST NATIONS, INUIT, AND MÉTIS YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE INDIGO HEATHER'S PICK CBC CANADA READS FINALIST NATIONAL BESTSELLER 2016 ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE FINALIST 2016 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD FINALIST QUILL & QUIRE BOOK OF THE YEAR KOBO BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR 49TH SHELF BOOKS OF THE YEAR GLOBE AND MAIL BEST 100 BOOKS OF THE YEAR NATIONAL POST 99 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR WALRUS MAGAZINE THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR CBC BEST CANADIAN DEBUT NOVELS OF THE YEAR "Katherena Vermette's debut novel, The Break, takes a tough, close-up look at an extended family in Winnipeg, tackling along the way a side of female life that's often hard to acknowledge: the violence of girls and women sometimes display towards other girls and women, and the power struggles among them. In The Break, the characters may be Métis, but the motivations and emotions are surely universal. This is an accomplished writer who will go far." - Margaret Atwood "Katherena Vermette is a tremendously gifted writer, a dazzling talent." - Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing "Katherena Vermette rendered the women of the North End gorgeous in her poetry, North End Love Songs. In The Break, she renders them sweet, beautiful battlers who love under the most horrific of circumstances." - Lee Maracle, author of Celia's Song "Vermette is a staggering talent." - Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach "In Vermette's poetic prose, The Break offers a stark portrayal of the adversity that plagues First Nations women in this country - and the strength that helps them survive." - Toronto Star "It's unsurprising that a novel by a poet would be beautifully written . . . The Break is an astonishing act of empathy, and its conclusion is heartbreaking." - Globe and Mail "With adeptness and sensitivity, Vermette puts a human face to issues that are too-often misunderstood, and in so doing, she has written a book that is both one of the most important of the year and one of the best. Though Katherena Vermette is not an emerging writer - she has written seven children's books and won a Governor General's award for her poetry collection North End Love Songs - for many, this novel will be their first encounter. And it will be a revelation. Vermette is a fully matured literary talent confronting some of our society's fundamental problems through understated prose that exudes wisdom and emotion. Every page hides beauty amid suffering; love winning out over violence and hate. Stella, at one point in the novel, thinks about ‘[a] story that didn't happen to her but that she keeps and remembers.' The Break is like that; it is a story that will stick with you a long time." - National Post "The Break doesn't read like an impressive first novel; it reads like a masterstroke from someone who knows what they're doing . . . Vermette is skilled at writing with a language that is conversational and comfortable and with a poetic ease that makes the hard things easier to swallow. The result is a book that is at times emotionally demanding, funny, suspenseful, and always engaging." The Winnipeg Review "Stunning . . . [Vermette] chooses her words with a poet's precision." - Literary Review of Canada "Equal parts page-turner and stunning literary accomplishment." - Open Book

PRAISE FOR KATHERENA VERMETTE AND NORTH END LOVE SONGS: WINNER, GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD FOR POETRY SELECTION, "On the Same Page" (Manitoba's provincial book club) "In spare, minimalist language, North End Love Songs attends to the demands of Indigenous and European poetics, braiding an elegant journey that takes us from Winnipeg's North End out into the world." - Governor General's Literary Award jury citation "In North End Love Songs, Katherena Vermette uses spare language and brief, telling sketches to illuminate the aviary of a prairie neighbourhood. Vermette's love songs are unconventional and imminent, an examination and a celebration of family and community in all weathers, the beautiful as well as the less clement conditions. This collection is a very moving tribute, to the girls and the women, the boys and the men, and the loving trouble that has forever transpired between us." - Joanne Arnott "The love that sits at the core of Katherena Vermette's North End Love Songs is not simple or serene, but pugnacious and ferocious, something to be alternately fled from as well as embraced. . . . Vermette's poetry explores a landscape that she at once rejects . . . but elsewhere speaks of with a great sense of love and longing . . . These North End Love Songs are loud and heightened, but also possess a surprising vulnerability. The collection's subjects are often wounded and sometimes disappear, as both the inner and outer landscapes that Vermette explores have the tendency to turn hostile. . . . North End Love Songs embraces the difficulties, the stumbling and the groping, and all the chilly, ugly elements than can nonetheless combine into a sense of place and home." -The Walrus "From a mixed-blood Métis woman with Mennonite roots, Kate weaves a story that winds its way through the north end (Nor-tend) of Winnipeg. It's a story of death, birth, survival, beauty, and ugliness; through it all there are glimmers of hope, strength, and a will to survive whatever this city throws at you." - Duncan Mercredi "North End Love Songs . . . combines elegiac and fiercely ecstatic melodies to sing of a complicated love for a city, a river, and a neighbourhood. It is deep rooted in its location, yet will reach out to readers everywhere with its harsh and beautiful tunings of growing up female in Winnipeg's North End." - Prairie Fire

Biographical Note

KATHERENA VERMETTE is a Métis writer from Treaty One territory, the heart of the Métis nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses Company), won the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry. Her NFB short documentary, this river, won the Coup de Coeur at the Montreal First Peoples Festival and a Canadian Screen Award. Her first novel, The Break, is the winner of three Manitoba Book Awards and the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and it was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and CBC Canada Reads.