Speaking Through Jagged Rock


68 pages
ISBN 0-921411-99-5
DDC C811'.54






Reviewed by Melanie Marttila

Melanie Marttila is a Sudbury-based freelance writer and writing


In her second collection of poetry, Connie Fife speaks through metaphors
that, while rooted in Native culture, often manage to break through into
a larger context.

The land, totem animals, the sun, moon, stars, wind, grasses—all of
these appear in Fife’s work as living things, deities, vehicles of
meaning. The author expresses her culture and reaches beyond it,
attempting to form a connection with the reader, to let us know that
“there are no vanished tribes” and that the words, the legends, and
the underlying meaning still exist.

Fife’s words are both simple and powerful. In the title poem, she
rearranges “the lining / of the universe” so that we, too, know how
the subjects of her poem lived. In Fife’s world, and thus in ours,
names have a power. Lost names convey a greater loss of meaning, while
renaming conveys appropriation and violation. Reclaiming that meaning,
that power, is a work of healing in process.

Speaking Through Jagged Rock is highly recommended for libraries that
focus on Native studies or serve Native populations, as well as for most
general collections.


Fife, Connie., “Speaking Through Jagged Rock,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/8450.