In his new collection of poetry, pieces of time, Jean Sioui contemplates the path traveled. He escapes into this “mysterious country” that exists in each of us, revisits the past and captures these fleeting moments, escaped from his memory, while putting his eternally optimistic perspective on the future.
“ pieces of timeit’s a reflection on my life,” confides the poet from Wendake, passing through Montreal last week.
“I’m starting to get old, and I’m looking at how history has evolved, where we are today in our relationships with other populations and how we can live, now, in these present moments. »
From now on, it is with gentleness and peace that he writes, he says – this same gentleness which emanates from each of his words when he expresses himself.
While telling his own through his dreams and memories, Jean Sioui lets speak in his poems what he sees, what he imagines and what comes to him, leaving his readers complete freedom to interpret them their liking. “I say things I like in poetry, and I offer it to you. »
From the past comes, among other things, this memory of fishing with his father, in this club where “the trout spoke in English” and “the fly rods were intertwined”, he writes, and where he returned with his son, decades later.
But there are also these wounds emerging from the shadows, which he touches on when speaking of “the religion of your churches” and of these children who were taken.
“When I started school,” says Jean Sioui, “it was in a mission school, with nuns. It is with great respect that I say this – I do not want to destroy everything about it – but what I felt and what I experienced for a good period of time is that we has been checked; we wanted to change ourselves. »
Yet there is no resentment that emanates from his verses, facing the scars of the past.
These are things that we must not forget, but we must not always continue to cry. We went through that, we still live, we continue. What I say in my books is that we have to stop lamenting to see the strength we have now.
To know itself
For the poet, today is the time for people to learn about themselves. To meet and seek to know who the Other is in order to build a way of living together. “I think we’re at this point, talking to each other. We hear a lot about healing, then we ask for forgiveness. I don’t want to be asked for forgiveness for another 20 years. We need to know ourselves, to know who we are; This is how we will appreciate each other. When we get to know each other, we will no longer like to judge ourselves and treat us in all kinds of ways,” he says kindly.
If pieces of time evokes the path traveled, Jean Sioui has crossed a road of which he can only be proud since the publication of his first book, The Indian’s stepin 1997. From the small bookstore opened nearly 15 years ago with his son Daniel, in a room of his father’s house in Wendake, were born the Éditions Hannenorak, which promotes indigenous literature and authors, and the Salon of the First Nations book, which held its 12th anniversary last falle editing. As a mentor, the poet also traveled extensively in communities to encourage young Aboriginal people to write.
I often say in my books that an Indian is a poem of nature. Music, words, poetry – for First Nations people, it’s only natural to express themselves.
But modest as he is, it is in a low voice that he rejoices, with a discreet smile on his lips, about the medal he received from the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec last December, along with others members of the First Nations to highlight their inspiring journey.
“ pieces of timeit’s my 14e publication. I think after my 15e book, I’m going to stop. I’m going to be 76 years old and words are starting to be difficult to find. The next one is going to be something I want to write in the longer term – something completely different, to close the loop. Like a retreat in a different writing style. But maybe it won’t be that either,” he says, smiling.
pieces of time