House Of Charlemagne
Louis Riel prophesied that a polyglot Métis nation would rise on the prairies five hundred years after his death, and that it would be called by the “joyous name of the House of Charlemagne. This new polity would be built on the principles of Riel'sMassinahican, a radical philosophical system which now survives only in fragments. Its hallmarks would be justice, ontological accord, and the blurring of all separations dividing women and men, the earth and human beings.The House of Charlemagnetracks the birth of this ideal nation in the burning imagination of the young settler Henry Jackson, who took the name Honoré Jaxon after his encounter with Riel's vision.Commissioned by Edward Poitras as a text for dancers, Tim Lilburn's poem gives voice and body to Riel's prescient metaphysics. As the Jury citation said of his Governor General's Award winningKill-Site,"Lilburn's work is richly figurative, but firmly rooted in colloquial speech. He is not only a virtuoso at the linguistic level, taking risks with metaphor and line, but also steeped in a metaphysics of place."
Canadian poet and luminary Tim Lilburn takes on the story of Honoré Jaxon, a young settler from a prominent Toronto family who became Louis Riel's secretary and held, for many years, the lost papers detailing the story of the Métis nation.