Art is invariably therapeutic, whether so intended or not. The story, poetry, painting, pottery and most other art forms are ultimately autobiographical in the sense that art derives from lived experience – and a wish to touch, through creativity, some inner core, where life springs from; hence the idea of poetry or even ceramics as therapeutic. Lived experience might be traumatic and may lead to psychological conditions capable of unhinging the individual. All art are an outlet for emotional abscess. Of course, here, the emphasis is more on writing.
It is easier and faster to write since the tools needed are, on the one hand subjective, and on the other, simple objects like a pen, paper, almost any rudimentary thing with a scratching tip to make marks with. This is why prisoners who take to dealing with their experience automatically choose writing as the form to express it in. Writing, which some Eurocentric scholars like Popper and Walter Ong, have rightly but exaggeratedly, credited with being the reason for technological advancements, is originally a medium of self-study, introspection, internal dialogue with the psyche, and intrinsically meditative and a form of and for emotional release.
Amatoritsero Ede: Naming in certain cultures – especially traditional cultures are important and significant. Can you tell us about your name? It is interesting that you have not anglicised your name as many first nation people do.
Armand Garnet Ruffo: The name I use publicly is from my father’s European side of the family. It’s the name that I grew up with at school. I also have an Ojibway name that was given to me by my grandmother when I was quite young. Roughly translated it means Turning Sky, which is a family tradition as my great, great grandfather’s name was Sahquakegick which means Opening In the Sky. I don’t use my Ojibway name publicly because I don’t write in Ojibway, and I think it would appear somewhat pretentious unless I were using Anishinabemowin.
The whales leap, the sport of giants.
Flippers, huge tails smacking water,
joyful, cutting across the bay.
The play on the title of Joseph Brodsky’s essay, “Footnote to a Poem”, is deliberate.
December 15, 2008
Goose Lane Editions Launches New Online Media Resources
December 15, 2008
New From Gaspereau Press