Tag Archives: David D Plain

Launched – A Brief History of the Saugeen Peninsula by David D Plain

“Both history and culture are important facets for a people to protect. One of the ways of doing this is through storytelling.” –David D Plain*

Aboriginal Day Events June 22, 2017He tempts us with a book launch invitation and a free bowl of Indian corn soup. I smile. I’ve never tasted corn soup before but we’re here (at the Maawn Doosh Gumig Community and Youth Centre in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada) to support David D Plain, a local indigenous writer, and to learn more about his sixth book A Brief History of the Saugeen Peninsula (Trafford Publishing, 2018).

At first, the banquet room appears empty. I didn’t think I was that early. Where was that free soup? (Teasing here!)

Julie from the local indie bookstore waves from behind a display of David’s books. Rosemary from the local cable station adjusts her lights and camera as she prepares to video record the official launch. David (the guest of honour) stands in front of a huge floor length window with a view of the grounds where the Aamjiwnaag First Nation 57th Annual Pow Wow will be held over the weekend. He appears calm and smiles when another familiar person walks into the room.

Launch - Saugeen Peninsula by David D Plain Photo 3 - June 22, 2018

David D Plain’s new 122-page book is divided into 23 short chapters: the first half highlights some of the historical moments of the Saugeen Peninsula, the other half outlines some of the culture of the indigenous people in that region.

Lynn, Jane, and Bob are already seated at the front end of the middle tables. James, Norma, Sharon, and I join them. Within minutes, three long rows of tables and chairs fill with other local writers, friends, family, and guests. Some wander to the display area to purchase a book or two. Others ask for David’s signature. It takes a few attempts to settle everyone down.

Launch - Saugeen Peninsula by David D Plain Photo 2 - June 22, 2018 Image of Wilson Plain who introduced his uncle at the event.

Wilson Plain introduces his uncle David during the official launch of A Brief History of the Saugeen Peninsula (Trafford Publishing, 2018), June 22, 2018 at the Maawn Doosh Gumig Community and Youth Centre in Sarnia, Ontario.

Wilson Plain, nephew to the guest speaker, introduces his uncle David as the aboriginal historian/author who frequently shares his knowledge about the Ojibwa history and culture.

Not only does David do this in the oral tradition via presentations to Ontario schools and other groups interested in learning more about the indigenous perspective of past events, but he has also preserved his words in the English language by writing four books (three non-fiction and one historical fiction) covering a 250-year period of the Ojibwa. He also has a memoir of his earlier years awaiting publication and a collection of poetry Poems from an Eclectic Mind was published by Trafford Publishing in 2016. Another blog post about David can be found here.

His latest book, A Brief History of the Saugeen Peninsula, features 23 short chapters focusing on the early history of “the Anishnaabek (Ojibwa) of the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula as well as their relationship with the Crown during the colonial period of Upper Canada.”

Each chapter is intended to be brief.  Written in a simple and straightforward manner, the 122-page book is meant to be an introduction for those who have minimal knowledge about the topic.

The first half briefly highlights key events in history such as the Iroquois battles, the War of 1812, the Treaty of 1836, Paternalism 1860 – 1900, and Modern Times. The second half outlines some of the Saugeen culture between 1700 and 1900 C.E.: language, religion, death customs, trade, sugar camps, gatherings, games, stories, and more.

Launch - Saugeen Peninsula by David D Plain Photo 1 - June 22, 2018

A Brief History of the Saugeen Peninsula is David D Plain’s sixth book. The Book Keeper, Sarnia’s indie bookstore created a beautiful display of Plain’s books.

During the launch, David shares several stories and excerpts from his book.

Launch - Saugeen Peninsula by David D Plain Photo 4 - June 22, 2018

Some not so serious moments after Plain’s cell phone’s ‘giggling’ ringtone interrupts his reading.

For example, “Lake Huron produced very large lake trout,” reads David, “Major Strickland was travelling on a schooner bound for Mackinaw in the early 1800’s when met by nine canoes of Ojibwa fishermen who came on board to barter. One of the passengers traded for a lake trout weighing “no less than seventy-two pounds.””

In another excerpt, he shares, “After wintering in small family hunting camps they would congregate at various sugar bushes in groups of six or so families. This gathering would take on an almost festival atmosphere as old acquaintances were renewed after a long and isolated winter.”

A lover of history and a member of the Aamjiwnaag First Nation, David explains the book was written in honour of his grandparents Eleanor and Joseph Root who were members of the Saugeen Ojibwa Nation.

In the book’s preface, he states, “I have spent many hours studying first-hand accounts and source documents as well as listening to oral history as told by the elders. This, as well as research methodologies learned along the way to a graduate level education, has qualified me to act as an aboriginal historian.”

Launch - Saugeen Peninsula by David D Plain Photo 6 - June 22, 2018

A chance to meet the author during the book signing portion of the event.

A lively question period and book signing follow his informative reading. As promised, bowls of FREE Indian corn soup (courtesy of Audrey Jacobs) and a platter of home-made oven bread (courtesy of Chris Williams) await the guests.

Feeling adventurous, I stay for lunch. Mmmmm. With one spoonful of soup and a bite of bread, I drift back into another era and try to make sense of it all. A copy of David D Plain’s book settles in my purse. I look forward to reading it over the summer.

*From the book A Brief History of the Saugeen Peninsula (Trafford Publishing, 2018) Page 85 Used with permission from the author © Copyright 2018 David D Plain

 Follow this blog for future author profiles, book launch details, and other literary happenings.

Coming soon, a review of Our Plan to Save the World featuring five authors including Lambton County writer Phyllis Humby. Also a ‘Q & A’ feature with British Columbia writer Bernice Lever.

Launch - Saugeen Peninsula by David D Plain Photo 7 - June 22, 2018

A delectable lunch: FREE Indian corn soup (shown) made by Audrey Jacobs and homemade oven bread (not shown) made by Chris Williams. Both were shared with the book launch guests. Yummy!


Celebrating National Aboriginal History Month with Local Author/Poet David D Plain

He takes out cigar his favourite pass-time/To smoke on his thoughts of past paradigms – David D Plain*

As a young boy, David D Plain remembers sitting with his grandfather on a veranda in Sarnia, Ontario and feeling the “awesome power” of Nimikiins or Little Thunder, an Ojibwa War Chief who was also his grandfather’s great-great-grandfather. This vivid childhood memory comes alive in “Rendezvous with an Ancestor”, one of 43 poems in Plain’s newest book Poems from an Eclectic Mind published earlier this spring by Trafford Publishing.

David D Plain was a regular reader at Sarnia's Spoken Word event at the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts

David D Plain is an aboriginal historian/author/poet from Aamjiwnaag Territory, Canada.

His non-fiction book The Plains of Aamjiwnaaang won a Golden Scribe Award in 2008 and was short listed for an Eric Hoffer Award in 2014. Two other non-fiction books (Ways of Our Grandfathers and From Ouisconsin to Caughnawaga) plus his historical fiction 1300 Moons have also won Gold Seals for Literary Excellence and were nominated for an Eric Hoffer Award. All four books were reviewed by the U.S. Review of Books.

His interest in history and culture is also evident in his debut poetry book where he touches on such indigenous themes as an Ojibwe creation story told in tercet form, a cinquain with an echoing Sioux expression “hoka hey”, a rhyming narrative about a windigo from Ojibwa folklore as well as references to an Ojibwe sweat lodge. However, non-indigenous themed works like “Limericks in Honour of John” are also featured.

Many of these traditionally-formed poems stemmed from assignments provided during weekly workshop meetings of Writers International Through Sarnia (WITS), one of several local writing groups in the Lambton County area.


Poems from an Eclectic Mind by David D Plain Book Cover 2016

Poems from an Eclectic Mind (Trafford Publishing, 2016) explores such universal themes as passion, spirituality, science and nature.


As a new poet, Plain takes risks and jumps in with confidence. As he revealed in the book’s preface: “In the spring of 2014, I was challenged to write a poem around a specific word, nemophilist. I had never written a poem, indeed I didn’t think I could. But, always up to a challenge I accepted and the result is in this work.”**

Plain’s work embraces his willingness to experiment and to try different styles including a concrete poem “Thirteen Essential Literary Terms” written in the shape of an umbrella. The front cover carries a surreal streetscape “Paris in the Rain” oil painted by Plain’s mother, Helen M. Coghill.

As shared on the back cover of his book:

“Eclectic and electric with ‘thunderous cracks’ of a summer storm!…Plain opens his literary umbrella to slosh and play in the poetic puddles and rhythmic-rhyming landscapes of his debut collection! Daring and exploratory through an ‘indigenous lens’, his literary trek reclaims such universal themes as passion, spirituality, ‘quasars and quarks’ nature’s ‘gurgling spring swirls’ and ‘past paradigms’. “

Promotion for his new book has already begun.

Earlier this month, Plain was one of three featured poets at Sarnia’s First Friday launch of LOCAL: Curated Art Show and Mural Project.http://localsarniashow.wix.com/local

In early May, he read with two other indigenous writers (Charmaine E. Elijah and Gloria Alvernez Mulcahy) during the London Open Mic Poetry Night in London, Ontario. Additional information: http://www.londonpoetryopenmic.com/may-4th-2016-photos-and-summary-featuring-indigenous-poetry.html

As a new member of The Ontario Poetry Society (TOPS), Plain will have a mini spotlight reading at The Sultry Summer Poetry Gathering, Sunday, August 21 starting at 12:30 p.m. at Mykonos Restaurant in London, Ontario. More info: http://www.theontariopoetrysociety.ca/Poetry%20London%2016.html

With June being National Aboriginal History Month and June 21 being National Aboriginal Day, I asked Plain to share his thoughts on his writing process. Below are his responses:

(1) You have written several historical based books. What inspired you to switch your writing focus to poetry?          

I didn’t really change my focus, but more expanded my horizons. I am still writing history, but I now also write poetry for r&r (rest and relaxation). I was challenged to write a poem a couple of years ago and I took up that challenge, although I didn’t think I was capable. I found not only was capable, but I found writing poetry relaxing.


A Sample of David D Plain's books.

David D Plain is the author of five books: three non-fiction, one historical fiction and his latest a college of poetry Poems from an Eclectic Mind.


(2) Today’s contemporary poets often write in free verse format but your book focuses mainly on more traditional closed forms with end rhymes.  Explain why you prefer to work in these older forms.

I prefer rhyming forms of poetry, because of the challenges they present. For example, the sonnets I write must have 14 lines consisting of rhyming couplets and ten syllables per line. I just find the stricter form more fun to try to accomplish, although, I do write some free verse.

(3) Which is your favourite poem in your new collection and why do you like it so much?  

My favorite poem in my new collection is “Death’s Sudden Embrace”. It’s a love sonnet. It takes place in World War II and the two lovers in it are my parents, so it’s very personal.

4) Describe your writing process. For example where do your ideas come from and what do you do to turn that idea into a poem? Also do you write long hand or compose on the computer? What time of day/night do you like to write?

Often my writer’s group is given an exercise to try involving the writing of a poem using a certain form and/or a particular topic. Other times I select a topic from a list of writing prompts or sometimes my muse inspires me. I never write longhand, but type directly into my word processor. My most productive time is in the mornings so that is when I set aside a block of time to write.

(5) What are you currently working on? 


1300 Moons Book Launch1

Plain’s historical fiction book 1300 Moons may be turned into a TV drama series. A screenplay for the pilot episode has already been written.

I am currently working on a sequel to my historical fiction 1300 Moons. I am also involved with an ongoing TV drama series based on that novel. I co-wrote the screenplay for the pilot episode and it is currently being shopped around by the film production company. I am also working on a book on Saugeen history. It is non-fiction and I have about 50 pages written so far. All the while I continue to write poetry during my down time, as I stated earlier, for r&r.

(6) A week ago, you mentioned a new history group project that you are involved in. Could you expand upon that?

Yes, I belong to the Aamjiwnaang Heritage and Culture Club here on the rez (the local reservation). We have decided to publish a history of Aamjiwnaang. It is a collaborative effort by the club’s members. Individual community members will be interviewed with the taped interviews transcribed into oral histories of the community. At least that’s how it’s starting out!

(7) What are your future goals as a writer?

My immediate goal is to finish the sequel. The working title is Honorable Decent. I also plan to be more involved in writing screenplays. When I have enough of a collection of poems built up I will probably publish another poetry book.

Thanks David for the interview. I wish you continued success with all your literary projects.

Plains Launch Thumbnail

Another author profile on Plain appears on the “Writers Networking” section of Gloria Pearson-Vasey’s May 23, 2015 blog post: http://www.gloriapearsonvasey.com/writers-networking-david-d-plain/blog.

Also check out Plain’s website/blog: https://theplainsofaamjiwnaang.wordpress.com/

National Aboriginal History Month was created and officially declared by the Canadian House of Commons in 2009. The celebration takes place each June to “honour the heritage, contributions and cultures of First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada. Canadians are also invited to celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21st of each year.”

*from the poem “Rendezvous with an Ancestor” published in the book Poems from an Eclectic Mind (Trafford Publishing, 2016) page 66. Reprinted with the author’s permission: Copyright ©2016 David D. Plain

**from the “Preface”, Poems from an Eclectic Mind (Trafford Publishing, 2016) page ix. Reprinted with the author’s permission: Copyright ©2016 David D. Plain

Watch this blog for additional Canadian Author and Poet Profiles.