Bones

By Tyler Pennock

Bones
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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 ... Read more


Overview

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

Tyler Pennock

Tyler Pennock is a Cree / Metis Adoptee, from Slave Lake area of Alberta. They are a graduate of Guelph University's Creative Writing MFA program. They currently live in Toronto, where they have worked as an educator and community worker for over ten years. Bones is their first book.

Excerpt

Under the moonlight
The softness that night gives us

 

the earth rising to meet

 

in snow - or the glow of trilliums, where there is enough sound in a breath

 

in here I speak

 

gently step
and story weave

 

sending out a thread of me

 

like a foot's condensation drying on a summer floor

 

hoping the memory of me survives

 

in the eyes of others

 

I'll speak of blood

 

and wounds and beauty in terrible things

 

the way the wind pulls a thousand leaves down an empty street

 

and when they settle - we look up

 

to trace the direction of the wind

 

 

 

 

 

On your birthday I remember the cake she made

 

that we didn't expect;
our faces masks of fear.

 

(we never liked the unexpected)

 

we sat staring at the cake and her smile, twitching.

 

her dark moments began to show a lot those days,

 

you assured me with a wink

 

something other than me
would break.

 

 

 

 

 

when a child learns
amid the fear of something

 

terrible

 

the fragility of their parent,

 

something shatters inside them,

 

the dual crush

 

of fear and empathy.

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