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Cree Artists Database

List of registered artists and artisans from Eeyou Istchee and surrounding areas.

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John P. Bosum

Multidisciplinary Arts:

Location: Mistissini



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Short description of your art.

My main work is on poetry and short story writing. I write poetry about specific events, people, my experiences at residential school, and poems about the beauty of our Cree Homeland.

Where did you learn your art?

I started trying to write poetry when I was in the 5th grade. I wrote something on the blackboard and my teacher was impressed and she told me to continue writing. I've been writing ever since! I also write short stories.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I find inspiration in events, talks with elders, and being out on the land. Quite often a poem will just come to me! I'll be laying in bed, driving, or just walking; and I have to find a piece of paper to write the words down!

Have you received any formal training?

No formal training other than what I learned at school in English classes. Throughout college and university, my teachers/professors have always encouraged me to keep writing.

What other art forms do you practice?

Storytelling, re-telling stories I have been passed down to me by my late parents. I also learned the art of tying flies for fly-fishing. I have an imaginary character that I will one day awaken into the great Cree novel!

Have you ever received any awards or special recognition?

Other than winning a poetry contest on through CNACA; I haven't received any other awards.

Do you sell your work? If so, How?

No, I have not sold any of my writings.

Has your art work ever been mentioned in any media?

I have had several people use some of my poetry when they wrote their theses. There will be a book published very soon on the history of the people of Mistissini Cree and I will have a couple of my poems featured. My community newsletter also had some of my poetry and short stories in it.

Please provide any other information you would like to mention.

I am a 63 year old residential school survivor and my poetry delves into the good and the bad experiences in my life. I also use poetry as a part of my healing journey. I wrote a lot of poetry in my youth and sometimes whenever I would go into a deep depression, I would destroy my poems just to punish myself. I've passed that stage and at times find myself writing a lot of those poems from memory. I do hope to publish my work in the very near future.