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Inuit Behind Glass

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  • Inuit Behind Glass

    Soapstone
    carved into likenesses of men and women
    from places where ice hardness, steel ulu
    and community are one.

    And those
    who hunt caribou, eat their meat, wear their skins,
    are brought south, further than they ever traveled
    while following the herds.

    Leaving
    a barren landscape where every shade of blue
    reflected off snow, every ice floe split-crack, holds
    intimate knowledge.

    Now freed
    from their land, frozen history, Inukshuk’s throaty
    songs of northern skies, are displayed behind glass
    under artificial light.
    Last edited by pipersfancy; 01-20-2016, 01:52 PM.

  • #2
    This could use an intro like you did with 11,000 candles. Curious as to how it was created. Great write Piper!

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    • #3
      Thank you, Bobby, for your kind comment.

      I spend a great deal of my time working in the far northern areas of Manitoba in First Nations communities with people who are Inuit, Dene, Ojibwa and Woodland Cree. Over the past 15 years, I have developed a great appreciation and love for these cultures. So, I always feel a bit conflicted when I visit our local art gallery and peruse the section where examples of Inuit art are displayed... lovely to see the beautiful soapstone carvings, but— oh, so limiting in a way as well... I always walk away a little saddened that a diverse and vibrant culture has been reduced to a few carvings behind glass.

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      • #4
        Got it. Such an important piece of Art. I liked how you set up 11,000 candles, and the narrative here crystalizes your point of view. Nice!

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        • #5
          I really appreciate your curiosity regarding this work— I love being given the opportunity to delve into the story behind the work! However, it is rare that I will post that kind of information along with a poem right upfront. When I first began writing/sharing poetry, I often would give lengthy introductions to pieces (wanting to share that magical spark of inspiration with my audience!) However, a few years ago I was mentored by another poet on another site, someone I had developed a deep respect for and who's own work I admired greatly. She reminded me that the purpose of the poem is to speak for itself... allowing the readers to take from the poem what they need in that moment of reading. So now, once I've written a poem, I try to let it fly on its own wings! I have remained good friends with the poet who first took me under her wing. We've developed a solid working relationship as she proofs/edits many of my major poems before they fly off to whatever contest they are intended for. (Incidentally - this is one of my driving reasons for wanting to help develop a strong sense of community here. I know how very valuable the right kind of feedback can be in helping develop a writer.)

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          • #6
            Thanks for elaborating Piper. I agree and I will post a poem I wrote about this very topic which was the focus of last year's contest. The subject was "Understanding"

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            • #7
              I like this and the story behind it.

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              • #8
                Hi, pipersfancy. I love this. It is so lyrical it is almost musical. I have a fondness myself for the Indians. Their culture was so simple. Hunt, eat, play, make love, sleep. It is tragic how Western culture obliterates all other cultures, one way or the other. I think we all long for simpler times, and mourn for what was taken from those simple people, and that is why these kinds of poems resonate for me.

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                • #9
                  Beautiful writing. Spiritual.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you cc springer, MHenry and Odonko-ba. I appreciate you taking the time to read and relate back your perspective on this piece.

                    The longer I work within the Northern Aboriginal communities of Manitoba, the more I learn about and come to appreciate about traditional cultures and beliefs. (There are three distinctive groups of people I work with up north, each with unique traditions and culture.) After 12 years, I feel I have barely begun to scratch the surface of understanding...

                    While I applaud the efforts of museums, art galleries and the like, in showcasing *some* northern art, and I recognize these events provide *some* artists an opportunity to find a wider audience for their work... I also realize that somehow, the bigger picture is lost, and the culture being represented by the artwork is not always authentic... almost (shall I say) dumbed-down for the enjoyment of the dominant culture in the south. It's complex.

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                    • #11
                      Hi Piper, I liked this greatly. Don't know as much as I should about our native peoples. I will mention a novel by a high school classmate of mine "Shadow Catcher" Maryann Wiggins (who at one time was married to Salman Rushdi) It has much to do with Native culture.

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                      • pipersfancy
                        pipersfancy commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thank you for the book recommendation, John. Summer reading season is nearly upon us—I shall look it up!

                    • #12
                      I love when poems give me a new point of view. thanks so much!

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