This Canuck Lives Here
Cécilia Clavet-Poulin

The words struck and rolled off my back.
"Get out of here, you fuckin' Canuck, "
the freckled-faced, redhaired boy

The rock in my fist,
meant for the one word
that I understood--
the only one that mattered,
the ground with a thud.
Even then, at seven years of age,
I knew,
I saw,
I heard,
and I felt
the weight of words.
So I let the rock in my fist
and decided, then and there,
to conquer
my fears with the ink of my ethnicity, 
because this Canuck lives

Cécilia Clavet-Poulin was brought up in a bilingual, inner-city neighborhood in Lewiston, Maine.  She attended Saint Dominic High school, dropping out in her Junior year, in 1963; forty years later, she is completing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing with a concentration in Craft, through USM's Stonecoast degree program, and has a novel in progress which focuses on Franco-American immigrants. 

Her enchantment with fiction began with listening to her papa's stories of loups garoux and le bonhomme sept heure; following her father's lead, at five, she plunked away on a rented Olympia De-luxe that her maman got for three dollars a month--a hefty sum in 1951, especially for a family that had none to spare.  So Cécilia spent Saturday afternoons reading poems on her street corner to her pals, who donated a penny apiece for the service.  Stories passed down from her papa and grandpére garnished a two cents fee ... or four Jujubees--after all, it cost money to buy typewriter paper, and she had to eat. 

By eleven, she was becoming bilingual. During her teens, her love of writing was hidden away in diaries and journals; she had begun to feel the smack and pinch of her ethnicity, and developed a shyness about what she had to say, every time the "Henglish friends" laughed at how she spoke.  But their laughter fueled her passion for the words, for the images which she could create.  And, today, the only laughter she hears is her own.  She is a proud Franco. 

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