The Auntys Speak in Poetry
by Jason Antonio
What the Auntys Say is Sharron Proulx-Turner’s first crack at the world of poetry. In this anthology, Proulx-Turner manages to combine mystery and wonder with old-fashioned story telling grab the readers attention.
In this powerful and somewhat witty poem about creation, Proulx-Turner mixes Metis history, narrated by the female elders, with a unique usage of words and imagery, entwined with a dose of creativity:. “Where time / keened and slowed to green / sways her gaze skyward/ there geese / in the millions vee’d/ luminesced and rageful loud/ combust.”
Unfortunately, this creative narration is difficult to understand, and is quite possibly the undoing of a vivid story that delves into the creation of the world from the Metis point of view. That fact, combined with the poetical aspect, may be why this book is so difficult to understand; unless one has a firm grasp of the Metis culture and connections within the Aboriginal community, or is an English major with a strong understanding of how poetry works and its intricacies. If not, What the Auntys Say to you will be a challenge to read the first time around, and possibly the next few times after that.
“That old lady heads out in her car big red hen warm wise/ flies right up and over the landfill sight/ lazy-legged lifts her butt that deadwater lake inside her eyes/ tears the size of jackfish/ and someone gets a picture/ over by the landfill right/ the part where she looks down and turns around profound/ how would you like my life for Christmas or something.”
The one redeeming quality of the book is that interspersed throughout are short, witty passages that make a person chuckle. Overall, What the Auntys Say is a good start for Sharron Proulx-Turner, who just happens to hold an English degree. That could be one reason why the book is so hard to grasp and understand.