George Ryga

In: English and Literature

Submitted By giridharan
Words 784
Pages 4
Honouring George Ryga: Our Mission
George Ryga's most famous character is Rita Joe, and her place in our world is obvious and damning still. Among the real world examples that informed his writing of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is the story of a young boy taken from his home in northern Ontario to a residential school. He was found during a helicopter search for truants and taken by helicopter to the school. From the air he saw the train tracks that could lead him back to his community. When he could, he followed those tracks and died, frozen, beside them.

Metaphors guide us, as artists, and if we're at work at two in the morning when there is milk to deliver at dawn, it's to tell a story to take that young boy home, to bend and break the metaphors, to discover new ones, or new uses for old ones. The railroad is a symbol of our national construction, and of the domination of the centre, but the boy used it for himself. But the young man torn from his community must find his way back. George Ryga knew that. We cannot let the roles we play determine our vision. We cannot become the magistrate from The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, who glimpses briefly the solitary child by the road and then cannot find her again. Claiming to not see the questions of our time does not answer them.

George Ryga wrote about this world now and that currency, that urgency is what we want to carry on here. Ryga will seek the best stories, essays, poems and plays in this tradition -- the literature that our country is so rich in: literature that writes its way home without giving in to nostalgia; literature that celebrates all our competing traditions and resists any safe homogeneity; but literature that refuses to romanticize the voices of the past in a way that denies them a life in the present or the right to presume a central role in the future.

We will not look away. This is art that may…...

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