Winner, Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers (Writers' Trust of Canada) and the Indigenous Voices Award; finalist, Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature
In her powerful debut collection of poetry, Arielle Twist unravels the complexities of human relationships after death and metamorphosis. In these spare yet powerful poems, she explores, with both rage and tenderness, the parameters of grief, trauma, displacement, and identity. Weaving together a past made murky by uncertainty and a present which exists in multitudes, Arielle Twist poetically navigates through what it means to be an Indigenous trans woman, discovering the possibilities of a hopeful future and a transcendent, beautiful path to regaining softness.
Arielle Twist is a writer and sex educator from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan, now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a Nehiyaw, Two-Spirit, trans femme supernova writing to reclaim and harness ancestral magic and memories. Within her short career pursuing writing, she has attended a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity and has work published with Them, CBC Arts, Canadian Art, The Fiddlehead, and PRISM international. She is the 2020 winner of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers from the Writers' Trust of Canada. Disintegrate/Dissociate, her first book, won the Indigenous Voices Award for poetry.
Arielle Twist is an expansive force of holy radiant power and illuminating fury. Disintegrate/Dissociate follows in the literary footsteps of legendary trans femme writers, but Twist carves a new path for herself. Rooted in a fierce Nehiyaw love, the book is an uncompromising articulation of Indigenous sovereignty, trans girl beauty, and radical sex. In Arielle's writing, the ancestors sing loudly and without shame, creating new worlds and decolonial possibilities for everyone who witnesses Twist's brilliance. -Gwen Benaway, author of Holy Wild and Passage
A dazzling debut that is one of the most exciting developments in the literary queer poetic tradition. Combining deft eloquence with fierce emotional intensity, these poems form a bridge between past and present, pain and pleasure, ancestral love and romantic love. Twist's voice is urgent, sexy, and deeply intelligent. To read this book is to dive deep into an exploration of the ways in which the body is marked by time and place -- by sexuality, violence, colonization, kinship, and hope. Long after you turn the final page, you will still hear these poems singing somewhere inside your bones. -Kai Cheng Thom, author of a place called No Homeland and Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars
Arielle Twist's Disintegrate/Dissociate is a miraculous debut of poetry that enacts exactly what it summons into the world. I am reminded here that we cannot, and should not, remove the body from story -- we must witness what we break and reciprocate wholly to what we must rebuild. This book is majesty, it is unabashedly honest, heart rupturing so, but also wondrous in its medicine-weaving. From floorboards filled with flora to a world destroyed because the speaker can will it so, from the waving Cree prairie through to a Mi'kmaq oceanic, Twist teaches us that 'if we must survive [then] we must write' and emerges a prominent new otÃ¢cimow in Indigenous literature. -Joshua Whitehead, author of Jonny Appleseed and full-metal indigiqueer
Arielle Twist's visceral poetry is built and rebuilt through breaking, demonstrating the vitality of destruction. This sharp, absorbing debut collection will break you and then rebirth you. -Vivek Shraya, author of I'm Afraid of Men and even this page is white
'I will sing with no voice, no language, no song, can you hear it?' Arielle Twist's poetry is striking, visceral, honest. Reading her work is like taking a ginger shot: painful, but ultimately you're better for it. With few words, she conveys so much about the legacies of colonization, the terror of transmisogyny, and the colossal force of them both. Her candour is both urgent and compelling, confrontational and compassionate, world-making with its insistence on another way to live. In a political moment hell-bent on erasing Indigenous trans voices, Twist's Disintegrate/Dissociate is here to stay. -Alok Vaid-Menon, author of Femme in Public