215 by Duncan Mercredi

215 is a new book from Winnipeg Poet Laureate Duncan Mercredi. It consists of 40 poems written in response to the news of unmarked graves at Indian Residential School sites across the country during the summer of 2021.

The work is rooted in a dark chapter of history, and Mercredi does not mince words. Reflecting on the residential school experience – of the survivors, of those who never went home, and of the families and communities affected, he traces a line between the injustices of the past and the ills of the present. Amid this heaviness are moments of hope and joy, yet with the realization that these can only be realized when we acknowledge the harms of both yesterday and today.

Poet, author and editor Warren Carriou describes the poems as “…vital songs that speak the pain and the resilience of Indigenous people in a time of devastating revelations. Each word reverberates with raw emotion, a deep sense of solidarity, and hard-earned wisdom. Everyone should read – and re-read – these remarkable poems.”

Published by the Winnipeg Arts Council and beautifully designed by Anishinaabekwe artist Rosalyn Boucha, the book is now available for purchase at McNally Robinson or through the link below.

 

Duncan Mercredi (Cree/Métis) is the Winnipeg Poet Laureate. A longtime resident of the city, he was born in Misipawistik (Grand Rapids) and grew up listening to his grandmother’s stories. His poetry collections have been published by Pemmican and WLU Press, and his work has appeared in countless anthologies and periodicals including Prairie Fire and CV2. Duncan has appeared at storytelling and literary festivals across North America, and for two decades has been conducting school workshops throughout Manitoba.

Illustrator and graphic designer Rosalyn Boucha grew up along the south shore of Lake of the Woods near Warroad, Minnesota and belongs to the Animakee Wa Zhing First Nation Northwestern Ontario. Her work is strongly influenced from her rural upbringing, Anishinaabe culture, and her passion for sustainability based on three pillars: social, economic, and environmental. Find out more about her work at rosalynboucha.com or @rosebeedesign on Instagram.