Having developed an impressive reputation for his many novels and non-fiction works, Richard Wagamese now presents a collection of stunning poems ranging over a broad landscape. He begins with an immersion in the unforgettable world where “the ancient ones stand at your shoulder … making you a circle / containing everything.”
These are Medicine teachings told from the experience of one who lived and still lives them. He also describes his life on the road when he repeatedly ran away at an early age, and the beatings he received when the authorities tried “to beat the Indian right out of me.” Yet even in the most desperate situations, Wagamese shows us Canada as seen through the eyes and soul of a well-worn traveller, with his love of country, his love of people. Through it all, there are poems of love and music, the language sensuous and tender.
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Richard Wagamese was a Canadian author and journalist. An Ojibwe from the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in Northwestern Ontario, he published over a dozen books. He was was best known for his 2012 novel Indian Horse, which won the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature in 2013, was a competing title in the 2013 edition of Canada Reads, and was adapted into a 2017 feature length film released after his death.
Published: May 2022
“In Runaway Dreams, Richard Wagamese astounds us with his poetic breadth and spiritual alertness. He is equally comfortable and impressive writing about nature, love, jazz, spirituality, or the brutality of residential schools.” — Robert Hilles, Governor General Winner for Cantos from a Small Room
“If there is one theme that runs through this collection it is movement—as physical and spiritual travelling, as journeys toward the Old Ones, as displacement and as reconnection, as search for home and identity— “so that planting flowers becomes an Injun thing”—set against the theme of simply being: on the land and embraced by love.” — Canadian Literature
“[These poems] possess a deep attraction because of the heartfelt honesty instilled in the writing. Wagamese embraces life in a huge bear hug, and his enthusiasm becomes unstoppable.” — Prairie Fire Review of Books