A Cry From an Indian Wife by E. Pauline Johnson. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for January 29, 2012.
In 1892 the opportunity of a lifetime came to this young versifier, when Frank Yeigh, the president of the Young Liberals' Club, of Toronto, conceived the idea of having an evening of Canadian literature, at which all available Canadian authors should be guests and read from their own works.
Among the authors present on this occasion was Pauline Johnson, who contributed to the programme one of her compositions, entitled "A Cry from an Indian Wife"; and when she recited without text this much-discussed poem, which shows the Indian's side of the North-West Rebellion, she was greeted with tremendous applause from an audience which represented the best of Toronto's art, literature and culture. She was the only one on the programme who received an encore, and to this she replied with one of her favourite canoeing poems.
The following morning the entire press of Toronto asked why this young writer was not on the platform as a professional reader; while two of the dailies even contained editorials on the subject, inquiring why she had never published a volume of her poems, and insisted so strongly that the public should hear more of her, that Mr. Frank Yeigh arranged for her to give an entire evening in Association Hall within two weeks from the date of her first appearance. It was for this first recital that she wrote the poem by which she is best known, "The Song my Paddle Sings." ( Summary from the Biographical Sketch included in Flint And Feather, collected verse by E. Pauline Johnson )
January 13, 2013
100 - 500
2.3 and up
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