my written works
Waking Ground connects the social and ecological challenges our communities face with the unresolved legacy of Canada’s settlement and its ongoing impact on the lives of Indigenous people. Attuned to language, landscape, and legacy, shalan joudry’s insightful and candid poems bring forward stories that speak to the resilience of Mi’kmaw culture and the collective work of healing and reconciliation that lies before us all.
The Jury for the Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award had this to say about Waking Ground:
“There's a gentle, measured breathing within and between poems”.
“River-like, it is also circular, with recurring natural imagery and echoes of the past, as well as a painful awareness of the present.”
The Jury for the J.M. Abraham 2021 Award had this to say about Waking Ground:
“Waking Ground carries forward the resilience of Mi’kmaq culture and is a collective call for the work we all need to do for healing and reconciliation to occur.”
“a collection of poetry that grounds the reader in ecological time.”
Listed by Annick MacAskill (Atlantic Books Today) as one of the 6 "must have" books published in 2020, writing: "Anchored in a keen awareness of colonial history and the fragility of our surviving ecosystems, the poems in Waking Ground are layered in their use of sensory details and lyric introspection."
David Huebert, Writers’ Trust, Recommended Reading List
“joudry’s poetics are a wildering, an astonishment. Steeped in the land and history of Mi’kma’ki, this book both cultivates crucial awareness of its moment and articulates vital and forward-looking eco-poetic thought.”
Exciting news: Waking Ground was shortlisted for the 2021 J.M. Abrahms Atlantic Poetry Award, the 2021 Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award, the 2021 Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award for Poetry in English.
Video poetry reading of two poems for the 75th anniversary of the Fiddlehead
Set in contemporary times, a young Mi’kmaw drum singer and a Euro-Nova Scotian biologist meet at dusk each day to count a population of endangered Chimney Swifts (kaktukopnji’jk). They quickly struggle with their differing views of the world. Through humour and story, the characters must come to terms with their own gifts and challenges as they dedicate efforts to the birds. Each “count night” reveals a deeper complexity of connection to land and history on a personal level.
Chantelle Rideout describes Elapultiek as a play that comes alive on the page: "a dialogue between Nat, a Mi’kmaw drum singer and Bill, a Euro-Nova Scotian biologist that is teeming with humour and poetry and difficult and important conversations.” Atlantic Books Today (May 2021)
“Each generation must make their own journey through a thick terrain” starts Generations Re-merging, a collection of poems which explores the complex tangle of intergenerational relationships and cultural issues encountered by a Mi’kmaw woman in the modern context, “where every moment is the loss of something.” Alert to the fragility of community and culture, and to the pervasive threats against the natural and social environments which have traditionally fostered them, shalan joudry writes with lucidity of the challenge of confronting these global issues personally on her home ground, and of honouring the hope of past generations by renewing it in the present.
"As much as this collection is a poetry in search of medicine, it is medicine itself. Reading through shalan joudry’s Generations Re-merging is akin to drinking a hot bowl of broth enriched with the minerals of words like wild, remembrance, waiting, persistence, hope, the known and the unknown... This is a book readers will want to return to again and again as we together navigate our way back to our wildness." Mallory Burnside-Holmes, Atlantic Books (May 2021)
“Joudry seeks to recover generational wisdom, the lore of folk, but erasure is a constant threat: ‘every moment / is the loss of something’....Joudry’s free verse seems confessional. She uses her experience as girl, then wife, and mother to elucidate the challenges of living as a Mi’kmaw woman in an era of conflict between Indigenous thought and (past) practice and the global, consumerist ethos that cannibalizes the “exotic” and poisons the environment.”
Poet/writer George Elliott Clarke, Maple Tree Literary Supplement
“While she draws as much from the landscape as her elders, Joudry’s inner wisdom resounds in her work. Given her role as a storyteller, her poems have a specific vernacular that embraces life, loss and love, endurance and beauty, social and ecological shifts.”
Shannon Webb-Campbell, Room Magazine (online)
A special project to be released soon (2021)
with Running the Goat Books and Broadsides.
selection of other written works
Interview by David Huebert
in the Dalhousie Review
(100.3 Autumn 2020 Issue)
Literary and audio for CBC Interactives. shalan, Rose and Cedar speak about their journey reclaiming Indigenous language:
(2015). “Three Decades of Silence”, “Wiklatmu’jk”. Understorey Magazine. (Issue 5)
You can also find shalan’s literary works in various anthologies and journals.