The Ecstasy of Resistance: |
A Biography of George Ryga.
Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up. ** 1/2 /4
** 1/2 /4
He has remained in popular assessment variously a warrior, troublemaker, poet, "political" writer. As a subject for criticism, he has invited either a rapid dismissal or a pat summation, both far short of the complexity of the man. He has been discussed as artlessly political, or alternately, poetically undramatic. I believe that in Ryga we have a writer of major significance, in part due to sheer output; about two dozen of his works are still in print, including two recent anthologies, The Athabasca Ryga and Summerland, which contain many of his lesser known and previously unpublished works. He may or may not be a great writer -- Ryga's corpus is especially unwieldy; he may or may not be, as some have suggested, a "one-play" playwright. He is, however, indisputably an important Canadian writer.
Mention the name "George Ryga," and immediately the plays Indian and The Ecstasy of Rita Joe come to mind. Ryga is best known for these two works that; indeed, they are often the only works associated with his career as writer. In fact, Ryga wrote in a variety of genres, although it was through drama that he gained renown. James Hoffman has extensively and exhaustively researched his subject; letters and personal interviews with former colleagues, family members, and Ryga himself form the basis of this comprehensive review of Ryga's life and work.
Recommended for secondary school and university
collections, especially those focusing on Canadian
Joanne Peters is a Teacher-Librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg.
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