Le Loutre: A Poetry Narrative
Thaddeus Crow, now an elderly ship’s chandler in colonial Halifax, recalls his long-ago rescue by the powerful French missionary Abbé Le Loutre, who took him to live with an Acadian family in Nova Scotia. As the eighteenth-century colonial wars raged on, Father Otter, as the Mi'kmaq called him, became more French agent than priest, leading Acadian and Mi'kmaq militias against the English. His efforts were in vain, putting an end to Thaddeus’s idyllic childhood as his adopted family and community were driven from their lands.
A darker version of Longfellow’s Evangeline, this is a tale of the Acadian Expulsion, seen through the eyes of a boy lost between cultures.
In detailed, carefully observed and paced verse, Eric Folsom tells the story of the confrontation between the Mi’kmaq, Acadians, and colonizing French and British forces in what are today Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, reminding us of old injustices that continue to shape our polity.
Having witnessed those injustices firsthand, Thaddeus Crow – a Yankee orphan sold to the Catholic “Father Otter” of the book’s title and raised to thrive in an Acadian farming family – has the advantage of proximity as well as of distance. He recounts in old age what had happened during his youth, decades after virtually every pertinent historical die had been cast. His account concedes secrets otherwise lost to the official reckoning.
Folsom works magic in this surprising book-length poem, revelatory magic powered by vitality, humanity, violence, and undeniable pathos.
– John Barton, author of For the Boy with the Eyes of the Virgin
Eric Folsom, a native of coastal New England, graduated from both Dalhousie and St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Eric has lived in Kingston, Ontario, since 1974 and has published four collections of poetry: Poems for Little Cataraqui, What Kind of Love Did You Have in Mind?, Icon Driven, and Northeastern Anti-Ghazals. From 2011 to 2014, he served as Kingston’s first poet laureate.
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