Tunchai Redvers will be returning to Hay River on Oct. 3 for the NWT launch of ‘Fireweed’, her debut collection of poetry.
“I’m really excited about coming to the North,” said Redvers, who grew up in Hay River, Fort Resolution and Yellowknife before moving to Toronto.
She has always been writing poetry.
“It wasn’t necessarily my intention to write a book, but I had stacks and stacks of poetry that ended up fitting into a book,” she explained.
Redvers has dedicated her book to Indigenous youth, Indigenous women and two-spirit people.
The book’s theme is healing.
“So it’s my own personal story of healing as a young Indigenous person,” Redvers said.
“Poetry for me is a process of healing, and so I write to process things in my life,” she explained. “And so in addition to writing, I work with Indigenous young people, and part of the work that I do is using art and writing as a form of coping and healing. Through writing, you’re able to work through some of those challenges that you may be experiencing in your life.”
The title of the book – ‘Fireweed’ – also has significance for the healing theme.
“It’s native to the northwest and so fireweed is across the Northwest Territories,” Redvers said. “Fireweed is the first thing that grows after a forest fire or after a parcel of land has been devastated. And so fireweed represents the healing cycle of the natural world.”
There are about 190 poems in the book.
“It’s a mix of shorter pieces, longer pieces,” said Redvers. “Most of them are pretty short, but it is a full-length book. Almost 200 pages of poetry and prose.”
The bulk of the book was written in 2016, and the rest between 2016 and 2019.
“For me, I love writing and I love writing poetry, and that’s kind of my chosen form of expression. But I do love to write in general,” Redvers said. “So my writing is not limited to poetry.”
The 25-year-old – a member of Deninu Ku’e First Nation – has no further books planned at the moment.
“I would like to see where this one ends up and I would like to see this one take on a life of its own for a little bit,” she said. “I definitely foresee more books in the future.”
The book launch in Hay River on Oct. 3 will be from 7-9 p.m. at NWT Centennial Library.
It will include a reading, book signing and a question-and-answer session.
On Oct. 4, Redvers will be in Yellowknife for another launch at The Yellowknife Book Cellar.
‘Fireweed’, which is published by Kegedonce Press in Ontario, had its national launch in Toronto on Sept. 5.