Usually I have a novel, a few poetry books, and some nonfiction around my bed. I like to move between them.
Five Little Indians by Michelle Good. This is a novel about five Indigenous children who were sent to a residential school, what happens to them when they are little, and when they grow up. It is crushing and heartbreaking and full of compassion and love.
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire. I read one short poem by Shire in a magazine years ago, and it blew my mind. She caught the hurt of the whole world in a few lines. This new book was longlisted for The Griffin Prize and I was rooting she’d be shortlisted so I could hear her read in Toronto. Alas not. But I got the book. Her words “No one leaves home unless/home is the mouth of a shark” from the poem “Conversations about Home.”
Ordinary Notes: I was introduced to Christina Sharpe through an interview with David Naimon on the podcast Between the Covers. A deep and thorough listening experience. I am tremendously moved by these notes of which there 248 that make up this book on Black living and seeing. I am only on Note 14 because each one is so distilled, it asks for all my attention and I want to give it and then I want to start all over from the beginning. #beautyeveryday.
What Comes from Spirit by Richard Wagamese.
In the fall of 2023, I’ll be doing some poetry workshops for and with health care workers in Northern Ontario: Thunder Bay, Fort Frances, and Kenora. I’m drawn now to read the work of Richard Wagamese. Richard Wagamese was an Ojibwe author born 120 miles north of Kenora, part of Wabaseemoong Independent Nations. This is a book of short essays and meditations. I read it at night because it brings peace and grounding.
Ronna Bloom is the author of six books of poetry. A Possible Trust: The Poetry of Ronna Bloom, selected with an introduction by Phil Hall will be published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in September.