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Armand Garnet

Armand Garnet Ruffo was born in Chapleau, Ontario, and draws upon his Ojibwe heritage for much of his writing. He published his first book of poetry, Opening in the Sky, in 1994. Four other poetry collections have followed including Treaty #, which was a finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award in 2019. A multi-genre writer, Ruffo is also a filmmaker and playwright, and is recognized as a major contributor to Indigenous literary scholarship in Canada. He received a lifetime membership award from the League of Canadian Poets in 2016. A professor at Queen’s University, Ruffo lives in Kingston, Ontario.


Interview with Armand Garnet Ruffo, 2020 Latner WT Poetry Prize winner (Audio)

Award History

Jury Citation

“Armand Garnet Ruffo’s work covers poetry, scholarship, and film. His childhood fishing and hunting in the Northern Ontario bush with Ojibwe-/English-speaking relatives formed his connection to the land. Ruffo’s 1994 debut, Opening In The Sky, launched a career throughout which he has animated larger-than-life figures such as Geronimo, Grey Owl, and Norval Morrisseau while, at the same time, engaging profoundly with the daily lives of Indigenous people. His language is lucid and understated, and metaphor infuses his work with a larger understanding of the relationship of individuals to the time and place they inhabit. His most recent collection, Treaty #, demonstrates a poetic struggle with the English language and the colonial instruments which came with it. To quote Ruffo himself, his poetry aspires to ‘cut out a place for himself in the world.’ With each successive book, Ruffo has demonstrated increasing range, expertise, and grace, consolidating his claim to that place.”

— 2020 Latner WT Poetry Prize Jury (Marilyn Dumont, Susan Glickman, and Kaie Kellough)

Works recognized by WT

Grey Owl

Opening in the Sky 

The Thunderbird Poems

Treaty #