ROGERS, Janet




Author Tags: Aboriginal Authors, Poetry, Sex

A Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations territory in southern Ontario, Janet Marie Rogers was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on January 29, 1963. She has been living in the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people, in Victoria, since 1994.

She began her creative career as a visual artist, and began writing in 1996. Since then, she continues to stretch her abilities as a writer working and studying in the genres of poetry, short fiction, science fiction, play writing and spoken word performance poetry.

"Janet Rogers is a true voice of our contemporary indigenous existence," say UVic's Taiaiake Alfred, "In her soul she remembers what it is to be indigenous and in her words flow the righteous anger that is the mark of a one who is awake and alive to today's reality. Her poetry reflects needs in all of us indigenous people; the need to shout against the past, the need to heal the present, and the need to love ourselves and our Indianness so that we can be fully human once more."

Her collection of indigenous-themed 'sexy poetry', Red Erotic (Ojistah, 2010) contains artwork by eight First Nations artists: Lee Claremont, George Littlechild, Denesse Jesse Grey Paul, Lindsay Delaronde, Chris Bose, Marcus Amerman and Nadema Agard. Ojistah Publishing (Mohawk word for star) is Janet’s publishing label. Got Your Back is the title of Janet’s third poetry CD done in collaboration with Mohawk poet Alex Jacobs. It contains studio and live recordings from Santa Fe New Mexico, May 2011 and released in June 2011.

Her first published collection of poems is titled Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007 which contains a companion CD of the same name. Janet’s video poem titled “What Did You Do Boy” was launched in October 2009 in support of a spoken word track from her CD Firewater which earned nominations at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards 2009 and the Native American Music Awards 2010. On the radio she hosts "Native Waves Radio” on CFUV 101.9fm Victoria and she has a Tribal Clefs music column every Tuesday with CBC Radio One throughout British Columbia. Janet’s first radio documentary titled “Bring Your Drum”, (50 Years of Indigenous Protest Music) aired July 3rd 2011 on CBC’s Inside the Music. Bring Your Drum won the BEST RADIO award at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival 2011.

The release of Janet Rogers’ Peace in Duress (Talonbooks $16.95) occurred at the conclusion of her three-year tenure as Poet Laureate of Victoria. Promotional material stated, “Rogers’s newest collection pulses with the rhythms of the drum and the beat of the heart.”

Janet Rogers, according to George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2016-17), "is as fearless as an eagle feather and as forensic as a tomahawk. This Indigenous Canadian poet says what E.Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) wanted to say, but couldn’t, because the time wasn’t ripe, a century back, for a voice that is unhindered by politeness and undiplomatic in outrage." Rogers' fifth poetry collection Totem Poles and Railroads (Arbeiter 2016) was launched at the Art Gallery of Ontario, with Lillian Allen and her band, after Rogers had told herself she would not publish in print any longer. "This collection came as quite a surprise," she said. "Goes to show you the spirit of creation is a force much greater than ourselves. The poems in this book are definitely a testament to that." The musical evening was followed by a conventional book launch at Type Books on Queen Street. With her playful earthiness, she told her AGO audience after one of her poems, "I didn't mean to get sexy on you, but I went ahead and got sexy on ya." https://www.facebook.com/ARPBooks/

BOOKS:

Splitting the Heart (Ekstasis Editions, 2007).

Red Erotic (Ojistah, 2010) 978-1-77084-020-1

Unearthed (Leaf Press, 2011)

Peace in Duress (Talonbooks 2014) $16.95 978-0-88922-911-2

Totem Poles and Railroads (Arbeiter 2016) $18.95 9781894037877

[BCBW 2016]