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February 04 , 2009

Rebel Women


Rebel Women begins by moving in and out of women’s kitchens, parlours, meetings, and wagon-rides on the eve and throughout Toronto’s 1837 Rebellion. The poems let the reader eavesdrop on the loves, fears, hatreds, and courage of these feisty pioneers as they are engulfed by an uprising some did or did not support. The poems are based on the stories, gossip, and rumours that Kasper’s grandmother, Statira Catherine Shepard—the granddaughter of Joseph Shepard, a prominent leader of the Reform Party (after whom Sheppard Avenue is named) and the youngest daughter of Rebel Joseph (jailed for insurrection with his three brothers)— shared with the poet when she was growing up. Almost nothing has been written about the women who supported, opposed or endured the failed December Rebellion of 1837—certainly not in poetry. This collection honours these daring women, what happened to them, and how they took charge of their lives. This volume also features poems about Kasper’s impoverished, eccentric family and provide a glimpse of Toronto when it was still considered a “hick town.”

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