The Illustrated Ode to Labrador is a new treatment of Dr. Harry Paddon’s beloved anthem. Artist Geoff Butler has produced twenty-five vibrant original paintings that feature the various people and regions of The Big Land, executed in oil paint. The introduction by author Robin McGrath outlines the history of the Ode and the life of Dr. Paddon, and in a series of thumbnail vignettes, she puts Butler’s paintings into a cultural and geographic context that amounts to a mini-tour of the Eastern Ungava. The book includes sheet music for the two most familiar tunes to the Ode, with lyrics in English, Inuktitut and Innu-aimun. Paintings and vignettes together make a lively, informative work suitable for cross-generational enjoyment.
Author Robin McGrath is a former academic who specialized in Inuit Studies She did twenty-five years of field research in the Canadian Arctic before returning to her home in Newfoundland, later moving to Labrador in 2006. She is the award-winning author of numerous books, including Inuit Literature: The Development of a Tradition, the novels Donovan’s Station and The Winterhouse, the poetry collections Escaped Domestics and Covenant of Salt, and All in Together: Nursery Rhymes of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Artist Geoff Butler is a Nova Scotian artist and writer who was born on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. He created the paintings for the “Ode to Labrador” during an artist residency at North West River, Labrador, just a stone’s throw from Dr. Paddon’s house. Geoff’s self-published books are: Art of War: Painting it out of the picture, The Look of Angels: Angels in Art, With Every Breath We Take: a modern fable in which a snowflake helps put an end to war, and Our Own Little World: in paintings and verse. He has also illustrated Ode to Newfoundland (Tundra Books, 2003).
(Above text courtesy of Breakwater Books)
James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. James works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.