Western’s 2022-23 writer-in-residence is January Rogers, a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River who aims to be an incubator of great ideas.
Rogers works in page poetry, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poetry with music. She is a radio broadcaster, documentary producer and media and sound artist.
Born in Vancouver, and raised in southern Ontario, Rogers has honed her craft across varied platforms. She currently lives on Six Nations territory of the Grand River where she owns and operates Ojistoh Publishing and Productions.
“January Rogers is a wonderful choice for our writer-in-residence during the program’s 50th anniversary year because she is a dynamic artist who works across so many media – from print poetry to performance poetry, to radio, theatre and new media,” said Pauline Wakeham, professor and vice-chair of the department of English and writing studies.
“January’s expertise in all of these areas is reflective of English and writing studies’ evolving identity as a home to multiple programs in literature, theatre, performance,and film. Moreover, January’s connection to her home community of Six Nations of the Grand River is key to our vision of nurturing our relationships with local Indigenous nations and learning from brilliant Indigenous artists across this region.”
Rogers has produced and written gallery and broadcast media with 2Ro Media since 2015. She won the American Indian Film Festival best music video award in 2020 for “Ego of a Nation,” her seventh poetry title which she independently produced on the Ojistoh Publishing label in 2020. She also won the imagineNATIVE Media best experimental sound prize 2021 for her sound piece, “The Struggle Within.”
She wrote and produced a comedy audio pilot titled NDNS on the Airwaves and, in May 2022, she released a 10-episode webseries she wrote of the same name.
Her literary titles include: Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007; Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010; Unearthed, Leaf Press, 2011; Peace in Duress, Talonbooks 2014; Totem Poles and Railroads, ARP Books, 2016, As Long As the Sun Shines (English edition), Bookland Press, 2018, with a Mohawk language edition released in 2019 and French translation released in 2021.
Rogers hopes to use her new role at Western as an incubator of ideas that will hopefully inspire others along the way.
“As I’m about to reach a milestone (age 60) in my life, I am still building upon my skills and growing as a writer,” Rogers said.
“I have been fortunate to make a living as a writer with a rich and diverse history as a poet and am now working in the realms of play-writing and script-writing. I look forward to bringing all my life’s experience to the role and very much hope other writers will find inspiration in that.”
Rogers will hold office hours in the department of English and writing studies this fall.
Western’s writer-in-residence program, the longest-running of its kind in Canada, is celebrating 50 years in 2022-23. It has been host to Alice Munro (who, in 2013, won the Nobel Prize in literature), Margaret Laurence, Emma Donoghue, Cherie Dimaline and more.
The program is co-sponsored by the department of English and writing studies, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the School for Advanced Studies in Arts and Humanities at Western, the department of English, French and writing at King’s University College, and by London Public Library.