When Smokii Sumac undertook a challenge to write a haiku a day, he had little idea of where the practice would take him. Several years and a large online following later, he has collected many of his haiku-style poems into his first published poetry collection,
you are enough: love poems for the end of the world (Kegedonce Press), a luscious, boisterous, touching and often funny poetic journey through two years of his experiences as a scholar, writer, lover, and transmasculine Ktunaxa poet. Learn more about this collection and see videos of Smokii reading his poetry, below.
“this one is simply for all of our love which can never be wrong”
In you are enough: love poems for the end of the world, Smokii Sumac has curated a selection of works from two years of near daily poetry practice. What began as an online poetry journal using the hashtag #haikuaday has since transformed into a brilliant collection of poetic storytelling. The poems rather loosely follow the rules of haiku, particularly the 5/7/5 format. In the style of Indigenous storytelling and literary practice, many of the three-line verses are then strung together and transformed into stories.
Smokii writes, “It is because of the ways that I understand the haiku art form as dynamic, adaptive, generative, creative, and collaborative that I hope Basho, and the countless other haiku and renku poets throughout past centuries, folks I now consider to be what Mvskoke poet, Joy Harjo, calls ‘poetry ancestors,’ would be delighted to know that their poetry has made it into 2018, to me, a Ktunaxa writer who borrowed what little I knew of their meditative practice and created something new.”
Many of the poem-stories in this collection are set in Nogojiwanong, which means “place at the end of the rapids.”Nogojiwanongis the Anishinaabemowin name for Peterborough, Ontario
In sections dealing with recovery from addiction and depression, coming home through ceremony, and of course, as the title suggests, on falling in and out of love, Smokii brings the reader through two years of life as a Ktunaxa Two-Spirit person. He addresses the grief of being an Indigenous person in Canada, shares timely and sometimes hilarious musings on consent, sex, and gender, introduces readers to people and places he has loved and learned from, and through it all, helps us come to know that we are enough, just as we are.
"You are Enough" written and presented by Smokii Sumac at the 2017 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
"Oldest Tree In The World" written and presented by Smokii Sumac at the 2017 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
"It's Time Now, Young One" written and presented by Smokii Sumac at the 2017 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
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Smokii Sumac is a writer, academic, and a proud member of the Ktunaxa nation, who grew up in Invermere, BC. He is a PhD Candidate in Indigenous Studies at Trent University where his research centres on “coming home” stories as an adoptee and two-spirit person. Smokii identifies as queer, transmasculine, two-spirit, a poet, an uncle, an auntie, and a cat person. His work has been published in Write Magazine, and under his former name in Canadian Literature, Aanikoobijigan//Waawaashkeshi, and on coffee sleeves in local Peterborough coffee shops as one of the winners of e-city lit’s artsweek contest in 2014. Smokii currently shares his time between Ithaca, New York, where he likes to go to the movies with his family and cuddle with their dog Smudge, and Nogojiwanong (Peterborough, Ontario).
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