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Q&A with Toronto’s Cree poet Greg Loon a.k.a. The Red Skin Poet

GREG LOON

#1) Have you always been a resident of Toronto?

Metropolissm1

I was born in Moose Factory, Ontario – in the northern region of the James Bay coastline. I grew up in Sudbury, Ontario. I have lived in Toronto off and on since 2000. But as a resident, I moved to the city in August 2007. And I’ve been here ever since.

 

#2) When did you first take interest in literature? When did you first become interested in creating your own literature?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI believe I always had writing in me. As a child, I was always reading books/comics. I remember reading a poem I wrote when I was 10 or 11 in front of my class in school. I started writing short stories in late 2011. That’s when I thought seriously about my writing skills. Poetry came to me in May 2013. It started to flow like water. It was endless. I knew at that point I wanted to share my poetry.

 #3) Where do you draw inspiration for your poetry, your own life? A lot of your content has a dark vibe to it, is this reflective of the events in your life or is it more than that?

Yes, the poetry is a big reflection of my life. It also represents a general view of what people feel. So I like to catch that in everything I write. My life is an inspiration, personally I feel like you have to live out your life with all the problems/issues you face. And write about it. That’s where all the blood, sweat and tears come from when you write a poem or a short story. You can read Ernest Hemingway and clearly you can see his style on writing and the issues he was facing – past and present – during his career.

My poetry is dark, but there is always a feeling of light when you read it in some way. The light is sharing and completing a story or a poem. I’m not a dark person, i just have dark issues.

#4) Who do you look up to?

Photo of Sherman Alexie by Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0.

Photo of Sherman Alexie by Larry D. Moore. CC BY-SA 3.0.

I look up to a native writer name Sherman Alexie. I adore Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, Edgar Allen Poe, Dylan Thomas.

 

 

 

 

#5) Your blog is called The Redskin Poet. It might be evident, but why did you select that name? And considering the controversy over the use of redskin, have you caught any flak for use of the word?

RED SKIN POETAs a Cree writer, I decided to use the term redskin because it was a play on words for me. But it also had a serious impact on me as well. I didn’t want the term redskin to be racist. I wanted to be careful with how I presented it. It would have been a different story if I was white/non-native but as a native man using the term redskin…it was empowerment, a light of who I am as a human being, my skin color does not reflect who I am, but my spirit does. I write. I have problems. I want to overcome them and be a better man today and tomorrow. I haven’t received any feedback yet for the name. I know who I am and where I am going in my life.

 #6) What issues interest you?

Toronto_Community_Newman

I have a strong interest in the community. A community that is natural, organic and independent. It could be media, arts and healthy eating habits. I have a connection with the arts and people. Besides everything, I like music and film.

 

  #7) Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself in a better place, a good job and being the man I should have been. I’m on my way, that’s the one thing you should always follow. Dreams, thoughts, etc…follow your path. I have made bad choices, I was angry at whatever I was facing. I want to move away from that and connect myself in a positive environment. One day at a time. Writing is only the beginning. The first step.

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