Rita Bouvier's third collection of poetry is a response to the highs and lows of life and represents an attempt at restoring order through embracing others, reconciling the traumas caused by the deep scars of history, and soaring beyond life's awkward and painful moments in order to live joyfully. Inspired by the metaphor of a voyageur sustained by song on his journeys up and down the rivers of Northwest Saskatchewan, these "songs for the seasons" draw heavily on images from nature as well as the joys, heartaches and transgressions Bouvier has witnessed and experienced as a Métis woman. Using imagery strongly connected to the natural environment, Bouvier evokes earth's regeneration through the seasons as inspiration for moving forward.
Whether discussing the joys and trials of family life with poems such as "nigosis is sweet and sixteen" and "my grandmother's hands", offering her own take on history in "songs to sing" and "measured time", or exploring Métis identity in "I have something important to say" and "Indigenous Man 2", Bouvier captures the essence of a life that can be "joyful/one minute and then. agony". Yet she always encourages the reader to become "caught in the movement and beauty/of life - dance, breathe, listen" and, of course, sing.
Rita Bouvier is an educator and a writer. She has published two collections of poetry with Thistledown Press, Blueberry Clouds (1999) and papîyâhtak (2004), and has been nominated for several Saskatchewan Book Awards. Bouvier's poetry has been translated into Spanish and German, and her work has appeared in literary anthologies and musical and television productions. In 2008 the Gabriel Dumont Institute published a collaborative children's book with artists Sherry Farrell-Racette and Margaret Gardiner and featuring the title poem from papîyâhtak titled Better That Way. Bouvier lives in Saskatoon.
how do we hold silence
in lines of poetry,
in the syntax of the poem's phrases or sentences?
and, why does it matter anyway? is there not more power in words we write,
in words we say to each other?
touched, our being lifted soars, but,
shattered, we are fragments
left behind lost in words.
once spoken words cannot be taken back.
sure, there is always the word sorry.
but listen to the sound
it makes; a pathetic overture
of could have - should have
but silence left as space
between our words can hold
everything and more; it holds its own.
it becomes the measure
of the sacred space between us;
the uncertainty of knowing.
are there words for that?
"Bouvier sets wide-ranging goals for her writing. This book of poetry attempts many of those things, and, at times, succeeds. She does, indeed, write of her experiences, which reflect images of herself, her Métis culture and the human condition. She writes simply and with the power to illuminate." -Terry Vatrt
"Rita Bouvier is a journeyer who searches along the way. Her poems are unafraid to take chances; they are complex in emotion, unsparing in intellect." -Zocalopoets.com
"Bouvier's poems have a political energy, but they are more about the politics of being human rather than, overtly, the politics of colonialism." -Patrick Carroll, Prairie Fire