Walter Hildebrandt Where the Land Gets Broken previous next   Ekstasis Editions

The poetry in Where the Land Gets Broken looks to the margins of society to discover the forgotten stories, those tales that lie outside traditional histories. To the Assiniboine, the Cypress Hills were known as the place “Where the Land Gets Broken.” It was where they collected special grasses that were smoked in their stone pipes during sacred ceremonies. The hills were where they buried their ancestors on top of the highest points. To the Blackfoot the hills were known as “The Thunder Breeding Hills” or the place “Where the Weather Comes From.” Walter Hildebrandt has for many years written about these hills so rich in history. The long poems in this book address an unsettled past—the Cypress Hills Massacre, the forced removal of the Assiniboine, the starving Cree of Big Bear’s band and the signing of the Treaties. His poems are not just “one damn thing after another” but are layered and acknowledge the complex tapestries and multi- dimensional perspectives that leave us with histories, not a single History. For both poet and historian time and place intersect. In these poems we encounter contemporary and historical figures from Cree guides to Chief Pasqua, The Gambler, Louis O’Soup, Man-Who-Took-the-Coat, Poundmaker, Edgar Dewdney and John A. Macdonald. Walter Hildebrandt is a guide who takes the reader to “where the land gets broken,” beyond the well-worn tracks of the official tour, into landscapes of word or earth that offer hints of where the real bones are buried.

Historian and poet, Walter Hildebrant was born in Brooks, Alberta and now lives in Calgary. He has worked as an historian for Parks Canada and as a consultant to the Treaty 7 Tribal Council, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Banff Bow Valley Task Force. He is co-author of The True Spirit and Original Intent of Treaty 7 and The Cypress Hills: The Land and Its People, and author of Views From Battleford: Constructed Visions of an Anglo-Canadian West. His long poem Sightings was nominated for the 1992 McNally-Robinson Book of the Year for Manitoba. He is presently the Director of the University of Calgary Press. This is his fourth book of poetry.

ISBN 1-894800-50-8
136 Pages
6 x 9
Now available