January 29th, 2020
Robin Ridington began working with the Beaver Indians, or Dane-zaa, in 1964; his wife Jillian began working with the Dane-zaa in 1978. As a UBC-based anthropologist, Robin Ridington studied storytelling techniques of the Dane-zaa in the subarctic Peace River area of northern British Columbia for Trail to Heaven: Knowledge and Narrative in a Northern Native Community (1988), which won the Hubert Evans B.C. Non-Fiction Prize in 1989. The Victoria couple also co-authored Where Happiness Dwells: A History of the Dane-zaa First Nations (2019) with Elders of the Dane-zaa First Nations. For decades they chiefly resided on Galiano Island. Robin Ridington began writing sonnets as a student at Swarthmore College in the 1960s. “Some people do crosswords,” he says. “I write sonnets.” In 2008, he self-published his first collection of sonnets, The Poets Don’t Write Sonnets Anymore (Plume of Cockatoo Press) followed by Spaghetti Must be Ambidextrous: Sonnets 2008-2019 (Plume of Cockatoo Press $15.95). 9780981066615
Photo: Robin Ridinton (left) with his wife Jillian.