Posted: Monday June 10, 2019
Christine Stewart in conversation with Erina Harris for CWILA

Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) has posted a great conversation between Christine Stewart, author of Treaty 6 Deixis, and poet Erina Harris. An excerpt:

Erina Harris – You once mentioned that moving to Edmonton inspired or induced a radical reckoning asked of you as a poet and teacher. Could you elaborate?

Christine Stewart – … During the summer of 2007, a tent city had grown up in downtown Edmonton. This was shut down by the city in early September and many of the inhabitants moved across the river into the ravine. In the mornings, on my way to work, as dawn broke, I would bike by people cooking breakfast on open fires or sleeping in shelters along the creek. At that time, the majority of the people living in the ravine were Indigenous, and as I later learned, many were nêhiyaw (Cree), from the Edmonton area – home and homeless. This condition remains very true for many people in Edmonton and across Canada – to be home and yet to be homeless in that very place of home. The enduring societal and governmental violence that is necessary for such a fact to be true is staggering. In the years that have followed, it has become obvious to me that I didn’t know where I was in those days, that I never had known, and that I still don’t, but that I urgently need to know where I am and what is expected of me here. This has lead me to work and write in very different ways and with very different intentions and yet, I think what has remained with me, is that writing is real, that it matters, that language matters, how we use it and why, that there is a truth in language on the page. It might be a truth that we find hard to believe or do not want to believe but it is there. Which is not to say that writing is everything. It isn’t. There are circumstances within which I often find myself now wherein writing needs to stop. Some things should not be written; sometimes writing is not enough.

Read the full conversation over at CWILA.

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