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Covering Indigenous adventures from Ontario?s Walpole Island to Northern Saskatchewan to the BC coast, #IndianLovePoems is a poetry collection that delves into the humour and truths of love and lust within Indigenous communities. Sharing stories in search of The One, or even better, the One-Night-Stand, or the opening of boundaries this collection fearlessly sheds light on the sharing and honesty that comes with discussions of men, women, sex, and relationships, using humour to explore the complexities of race, culture and intent within relationships.
David Groulx’s latest collection offers his readers a handful of poems as cutting and brilliant as glass shards, offering glimpses of the anger, pain and lost beauties of his ancestors. These poems cut deep with their clear-eyed honesty, their stripped away pain and suffering. A subtle weaving of black humour and fleeting touches of beauty, as well at the careful craftsmanship of the writing make these poems iconic. This is a collection that should not be missed.
A Moon Made of Copper is a collection of non-fiction poems that look at the continual maturing and growth of a human being. The poems were written while touring across Canada, and they capture Bose’s experiences meeting people, wandering different cities, and getting into adventures and mis-adventures. A poetic journey through pain and loss, and ultimately towards healing.
Deluxe redesign of the Gerald Lampert Award-winning classic.
On the occasion of the press’s 40th anniversary, Brick Books is proud to present the fourth of six new editions of classic books from our back catalogue. This edition of A Really Good Brown Girl features a new Introduction by Lee Maracle, a new Afterword by the author and a new cover and design by the renowned typographer Robert Bringhurst.
First published in 1996, A Really Good Brown Girl is a fierce, honest and courageous account of what it takes to grow into one’s self and one’s Métis heritage in the face of myriad institutional and cultural obstacles. It is an indispensable contribution to Canadian literature.
I am looking at a school picture, grade five, I am smiling easily … I look poised, settled, like I belong. I won an award that year for most improved student. I learned to follow really well. –from “Memoirs of a Really Good Brown Girl”
“No other book so exonerates us, elevates us and at the same time indicts Canada in language so eloquent it almost hurts to hear it.” –Lee Maracle, from the Introduction
In this poetry collection, Joséphine Bacon challenges our traditional notions of culture and perception, landscape and wilderness, the limits of experience, and the nature of human being. With a surreal blend of emotions and memories, “A Tea in the Tundra / Nipishapui Nete Mushuat” portrays a complex and ever-shifting landscape of possibilities. The author passionately reveals a finely wrought sensibility, which elevates the subtle scenery of life’s everyday events. The French-language edition of this book was shortlisted for the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry.
AnHonest 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.
A gender-fluid trickster character leaps from Cree stories to inhabit this racous and rebellious new work by award-winning poet Louise Bernice Halfe.
There are no pronouns in Cree for gender; awâsis (which means illuminated child) reveals herself through shape-shifting, adopting different genders, exploring the English language with merriment, and sharing his journey of mishaps with humor, mystery, and spirituality. Opening with a joyful and intimate Introduction from Elder Maria Campbell, awâsis – kinky and dishevelled is a force of Indigenous resurgence, resistance, and soul-healing laughter.
If you’ve read Halfe’s previous books, prepared to be surprised by this one. Raging in the dark, uncovering the painful facts wrought on her and her people’s lives by colonialism, racism, religion, and residential schools, she has walked us through raw realities with unabashed courage and intense, precise lyricism. But for her fifth book, another choice presented itself. Would she carve her way with determined ferocity into the still-powerful destructive forces of colonialism, despite Canada’s official, hollow promises to make things better? After a soul-searching Truth and Reconciliation process, the drinking water still hasn’t improved, and Louise began to wonder whether inspiration had deserted her.
Then awâsis showed up–a trickster, teacher, healer, wheeler-dealer, shapeshifter, woman, man, nuisance, inspiration. A Holy Fool with their fly open, speaking Cree, awâsis came to Louise out of the ancient stories of her people, her Elders, from community input (through tears and laughter), from her own full heart and her three-dimensional dreams. Following awâsis’s lead, Louise has flipped her blanket over, revealing a joking, mischievous, unapologetic alter ego–right on time.
“Louise Halfe knows, without question, how to make miyo-iskotêw, a beautiful fire with her kindling of words and moss gathered from a sacred place known only to her, to the Old Ones. These poems, sharp and crackling, are among one of the most beautiful fires I’ve ever sat beside.” –Gregory Scofield, author of Witness, I Am
“Louise makes awâsis out of irreverent sacred text. The darkness enlightens. She uses humor as a scalpel and sometimes as a butcher knife, to cut away, or hack off, our hurts, our pain, our grief and our traumas. In the end we laugh and laugh and laugh.” –Harold R. Johnson, author of Peace and Good Order: The Case for Indigenous Justice in Canada
“This is all about Indigenizing and reconciliation among ourselves. It’s the kind of funny, shake up, poking, smacking and farting we all need while laughing our guts out. It’s beautiful, gentle and loving.” –Maria Campbell, author of Halfbreed (from the Introduction)
“There really isn’t any template for telling stories as experienced from within Indigenous minds. In her book awâsis – kinky and dishevelled, Cree poet Louise Bernice Halfe – Skydancer presents a whole new way to experience story poems. It’s kinda like she writes in English but thinks in Cree. Lovely, revealing, funny, stunning. A whole new way to write!” –Buffy Sainte-Marie
In Beautiful Razor, Al Hunter explores the span between the sensual and the profane; the distance of which can sometimes be vast or on the razor’s edge. This much awaited collection is the third poetry book written by the former Rainy River First Nations Chief, along with Spirit Horses and The Recklessness of Love.
The poems in “Between the Moments” immerse the reader deep into the reflection of humanity and tangible reality of life to explore the moments of perplexity and simplicity of life. Throughout the book, the author roams the crevices of her desire and invites us into the world filled with tides and stars, mirages and reflections, moments of confusion and enlightenment to resolve deep emotional issues and to find the light in the darkness. In “Between the Moments” the emotions are overlapping and the feelings are evolving until the end of the night.
Translated from French by Howard Scott
In this, her third volume of poetry, this Aboriginal writer from Quebec again confronts the loss of her landscape and language.
On my left hip
I walk upright
like a shadow
a people on my hip
a boatload of fruit
and the dream inside
women and children first
“A cry rises in me and transfigures me. The world waits for woman to come back as she was born: woman standing, woman powerful, woman resurgent. A call rises in me and I’ve decided to say yes to my birth.”
Poems about a young two-spirit Indigenous man moving through shadow and trauma toward strength and awareness.
Bones, Tyler Pennock’s wise and arresting debut, is about the ways we process the traumas of our past, and about how often these experiences eliminate moments of softness and gentleness. Here, the poems journey inward, guided by the world of dreams, seeking memories of a loving sister lost beneath layers of tragedy and abuse. With bravery, the poems stand up to the demons lurking in the many shadows of their lines, seeking glimpses of a good that is always just out of reach.
At moments heartrending and gut-punching, at others still and sweet, Bones is a collection of deep and painstaking work that examines the human spirit in all of us. This is a hero’s journey and a stark look at the many conditions of the soul. This is a book for survivors, for fighters, for dreamers, and for believers.
“Here is a spare and urgent voice that speaks of ‘wounds and beauty,’ that gestures to a story of trauma and abuse while offering us a potent journey of self-reckoning and reclamation. Bones entwines brutality with the deepest tenderness and in its clear-eyed way asks us, as poetry must, to re-see the world.” –Catherine Bush, author of Accusation and The Rules of Engagement
“Tyler Pennock’s poetry unfurls like breath: measured, light, caught, whispering, and vital. It charts memory with a steady hand and unerring allegiance to locating the ‘beauty/in terrible things.’ Bones addresses the effects of intergenerational, state-sponsored trauma with an enviable grace, inscribing and affirming life on the other side of overwhelming pain, abuse, and grief. It carries on, resilient, defiant, gazing at the stars, one breath at a time.” –Laurie D. Graham, author of Settler Education
“Tyler Pennock’s Bones is a soft meandering through the memories of the narrator’s hearthome: a place in which trauma, kinship, abuse, and nostalgia cradle one another in a circle. Here, poetics are deployed to inspect the most minute of objects with such wild abandon that the narrator transplants us into a world rife with sharpness so as to make the image complete, focussed, lifelike, photographic even as he continually ‘wish[es he] were like water’. Here we find memory and dream animated in equal measure: two spirits sitting in a basement, a headless mother, a white bear, wihtiko, and a sister slowly vanishing. Lyrical, witty, heart-wrenching, and empowering, Pennock’s debut book of poetry is a contemplative epic asking us to ponder the ethics of remembrance in all of its lacings of razing and revitalization.” –Joshua Whitehead, author of Full-Metal Indigiqueer and Jonny Appleseed
A deeply scouring poetic account of the residential school experience, and a deeply important indictment of colonialism in Canada.
Many of the poems in Louise Halfe’s Burning in This Midnight Dream were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth and Reconciliation process unfolded. In heart-wrenching detail, Halfe recalls the damage done to her parents, her family, herself. With fearlessly wrought verse, Halfe describes how the experience of the residential schools continues to haunt those who survive, and how the effects pass like a virus from one generation to the next. She asks us to consider the damage done to children taken from their families, to families mourning their children; damage done to entire communities and to ancient cultures.
Halfe’s poetic voice soars in this incredibly moving collection as she digs deep to discover the root of her pain. Her images, created from the natural world, reveal the spiritual strength of her culture.
Originally published in 2016 by Coteau Books, Burning in This Midnight Dream won the Indigenous Peoples’ Publishing Award, the Rasmussen, Ramussen & Charowsky Indigenous Peoples’ Writing Award, the Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award, the League of Canadian Poets’ Raymond Souster Award, and the High Plains Book Award for Indigenous Writers. It was also the 2017 WILLA Literacy Award Finalist in Poetry. This new edition includes a new Afterword by Halfe.
“Burning in this Midnight Dream honours the witness of a singular experience, Halfe’s experience, that many others of kin and clan experienced. Halfe descends into personal and cultural darkness with the care of a master story-teller and gives story voice to mourning. By giving voice to shame, confusion, injustice Halfe begins to reclaim a history. It is the start of a larger dialogue than what is contained in the pages.” –Raymond Souster Award jury citation
“Calling Down the Sky” is a poetry collection that describes deep personal experiences and post generational effects of the Canadian Aboriginal Residential School confinements in the 1950’s when thousands of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were placed in these schools against their parents’ wishes. Many were forbidden to speak their language and practice their own culture. The author portrays how the ongoing impact of the residential schools problem has been felt throughout generations and has contributed to social problems that continue to exist today.
Sharron’s poems and writings in creole métisse of french canada, me include insights into her experiences as a child, a student and beyond; inviting the reader to understand her life, Métis experience in Canada, the true stories from the inside out. “if I could believe that, then maybe I could believe my own childhood pictures and words all neatly drawn and gridded and hidden inside dust devils on clean white paper, like cartoons in a comic book. I learned a cartoon can be a stand-alone drawing on strong, large paper. so I changed up the form. a cartoon. life size. bright crayon scribbles painted over with black india ink. but willow stick scratches on the surface revealed a new story underneath. clear, living sundog colour blink-blinking out and into the room. I wrote a new story that way. already I believed in the power of writing. already I knew how words could pull you in, their power unyielding. binding.” – Excerpt from creole metisse of french canada, me
As the title suggests, this new collection of poetry from Garry Gottfriedson of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation deals with the ways in which the world is deaf to the problems First Nations people face in Canada today. Gottfriedson examines such issues as the Truth and Reconciliation movements as well as the missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The poems focus not only on postcolonial issues but also on First Nations internal problems. Although the book speaks of age-old themes, it explores them through fresh modern eyes offering thought-provoking and engaging prespectives. Eloquent and witty, these poems are power-packed with imagery that uncovers the raw politics of race. There is nothing polite about them. While frequently offering a bleak view of present-day First Nation conditions, the poems also provide a sense of optimism: “the hope/that the coldest day in winter/will promise serenity in spring.”
A collection of letter and prayer poems in which an Indigenous speaker engages with non-Indigenous famous Canadians.
D.A. Lockhart’s stunning and subversive fourth collection gives us the words, thoughts, and experiences of an Anishinaabe guy from Central Ontario and the manner in which he interacts with central aspects and icons of settler Canadian culture. Riffing off Richard Hugo’s 31 Letters and 13 Dreams, the work utilizes contemporary Indigenous poetics to carve out space for often ignored voices in dominant Canadian discourse (and in particular for a response to this dominance through the cultural background of an Indigenous person living on land that has been fundamentally changed by settler culture).
The letter poems comprise a large portion of this collection and are each addressed to specific key public figures–from Sarah Polley to Pierre Berton, k.d. lang to Robertson Davies, Don Cherry to Emily Carr. The second portion of the pieces are prayer poems, which tenderly illustrate hybrid notions of faith that have developed in contemporary Indigenous societies in response to modern and historical realities of life in Canada. Together, these poems act as a lyric whole to push back against the dominant view of Canadian political and pop-culture history and offer a view of a decolonized nation.
Because free double-doubles…
tease us like bureaucratic promises
of medical coverage and housing
not given to black mold and torn-
off siding. Oh Lord, let us sing anew,
in this pre-dawn light, a chorus
that shall not repeat Please Play Again. (from “Roll Up the Rim Prayer”)