Over the Christmas break, I read This Wound is a World by Billy Ray Belcourt. Belcourt’s intense collection of poetry about love, loss, politics of race and gender won the 2018 Griffin Prize and the 2017 Best book of Poetry by CBC. Despite these accolades, it wasn’t until I attended the Voices in the Circle even of Thin Air: Winnipeg’s international Writers Festival that this collection gained my interest. Billy Ray, one of half a dozen young Indigenous writers appearing at the festival, laid open his body of poems in a short but compelling reading. This body, like Billy Ray’s own physical body, conveys desire and fear, being both powerful and powerless in the hands of those who have tried to control the poet’s sexual, cultural and political identity. The body is a limited space and Billy Ray pushes its boundaries with many emotions.
I usually juggle a poetry collection with prose. Currently, I’m re-reading The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. This my third reading. Where many may see a dystopian tale of cultural and familial loss, I see a story rooted in hope and personal evolution. At times, we need to review those feelings.
Photo by Flickr user Nimit Rastogi