Poetry

This Wound is a World

Billy-Ray Belcourt

Summary of This Wound is a World

Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound is a World is an invitation to "cut a hole in the sky to world inside." Billy-Ray Belcourt issues a call to turn to love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples shoulder sadness and pain like theirs without giving up on the future. His poems upset genre and play with form, scavenging for a decolonial kind of heaven where "everyone is at least a little gay."

(Source: Frontenac House)

An Honest Woman

Jónína Kirton

Summary of An Honest Woman

An Honest Woman by Jónína Kirton confronts us with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love, and marriage. From the perspective of a mixed-race woman, Kirton engages with Simone de Beauvoir and Donald Trump to unravel the norms of femininity and sexuality that continue to adhere today.

Kirton recalls her own upbringing, during which she was told to find a good husband who would "make an honest woman" out of her. Exploring the lives of many women, including her mother, her contemporaries, and well-known sex-crime stories such as the case of Elisabeth Fritzl, Kirton mines the personal to loosen the grip of patriarchal and colonial impositions.

An Honest Woman explores the many ways the female body is shaped by questions that have been too political to ask: What happens when a woman decides to take her sexuality into her own hands, dismissing cultural norms and the expectations of her parents? How is a young woman's sexuality influenced when she is perceived as an "exotic" other? Can a woman reconnect with her Indigenous community by choosing Indigenous lovers?

Daring and tender in their honesty and wisdom, these poems challenge the perception of women's bodies as glamorous and marketable commodities and imagine an embodied female experience that accommodates the role of creativity and a nurturing relationship with the land.

(Source: Nightwood Editions)

North End Love Songs

Katherena Vermette

Summary of North End Love Songs

For Katherena Vermette, Winnipeg's North End is a neighbourhood of colourful birds, stately elms, and always wily rivers. It is where a brother's disappearance is trivialized by local media and police because he is young and aboriginal. It is also where young girls share secrets, movies, cigarettes, Big Gulps and stories of love; where a young mother full of both maternal trepidation and joy watches her small daughters as they play in the park.

"In North End Love Songs, Katherena Vermette uses spare language and brief, telling sketches to illuminate the aviary of a prairie neighbourhood. Vermette's love songs are unconventional and imminent, an examination and a celebration of family and community in all weathers, the beautiful as well as the less clement conditions. This collection is a very moving tribute, to the girls and the women, the boys and the men, and the loving trouble that has forever transpired between us." Joanne Arnott

(Source: Chapters)

The Red Files

Lisa Bird-Wilson

Summary of The Red Files

This debut poetry collection from Lisa Bird-Wilson reflects on the legacy of the residential school system: the fragmentation of families and histories with blows that resonate through the generations.

Inspired by family and archival sources, Bird-Wilson assembles scraps of a history torn apart by colonial violence. The collection takes its name from the federal government's complex organizational structure of residential schools archives, which are divided into "black files" and "red files." In vignettes as clear as glass beads, her poems offer affection to generations of children whose presence within the historic record is ghostlike, anonymous and ephemeral.

The collection also explores the larger political context driving the mechanisms that tore apart families and cultures, including the Sixties Scoop. It depicts moments of resistance, both personal and political, as well as official attempts at reconciliation: "I can hold in the palm of my right hand / all that I have left: one story-gift from an uncle, / a father's surname, treaty card, Cree accent echo, metal bits, grit— / and I will still have room to cock a fist."

The Red Files concludes with a fierce hopefulness, embracing the various types of love that can begin to heal the traumas inflicted by a legacy of violence

(Source: Harbour Publishing)

#IndianLovePoems

Tenille K. Campbell

Summary of #IndianLovePoems

Covering Indigenous adventures from Wahpole Island to Northern Saskatchewan to the West Coast, #IndianLovePoems is a poetry collection that humorously delves into the truths of love and lust within Indigenous communities. The poetic speaker, a First Nations Donna Giovanni, relates stories of her search for The One, or even better, that One-Night-Stand, in heated lines that fearlessly shed light on the intimacy and honesty that may arise even from the most fleeting encounter, leading to reflection on the complexities of sex, race, culture, and intention within relationships. From discovering your own John Smith to sharing sushi in bed, #IndianLovePoems will bring a smile to your lips as you are reminded of your own stories about that special someone.

(source: Signature Editions)

Witness, I Am

Gregory Scofield

Summary of Witness, I Am

Witness, I Am is divided into three gripping sections of new poetry from one of Canada's most recognized poets. The first part of the book, "Dangerous Sound," contains contemporary themed poems about identity and belonging, undone and rendered into modern sound poetry. "Muskrat Woman," the middle part of the book, is a breathtaking epic poem that considers the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women through the reimagining and retelling of a sacred Cree creation story. The final section of the book, "Ghost Dance," raids the autobiographical so often found in Scofield's poetry, weaving the personal and universal into a tapestry of sharp poetic luminosity.

(Source: Nightwood Editions)

Imagine Mercy: Canadian Aboriginal Voices

David Groulx

Summary of Imagine Mercy: Canadian Aboriginal Voices

Imagine Mercy is a vibrant poetry collection portraying the daily realities of living as an Aboriginal in Canada. David Groulx seamlessly weaves the spiritual with the ordinary and the present with the past. He speaks for the strength and courage of Aboriginal people, compelling readers to confront reality with his honest and inspiring vision. Remarkable in its candour and gracefully constructed, this collection of poems binds us to the present and, at the same time, connects us to the voices of the past.

(Source: Palliser Reginal Library)

Bâtons à message Tshissinuatshitakana

Joséphine Bacon

Summary of Bâtons à message Tshissinuatshitakana

This bilingual work (French and Innu Aimun) is an invitation to dialogue. Bâtons à message (message sticks) refer to a set of landmarks that allow nomads to move inland and find their way or voice.

(Book not available in English)

(source : Radio Canada)

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