Holy Wild

By (author): Gwen Benaway

Winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry

Finalist for the 2019 Trillium Book Award for Poetry

Finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards – Transgender Poetry Category

Finalist for the 2019 Publishing Triangle Awards – Trans and Gender-Variant Literature Category

Longlisted for the 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award

In her third collection of poetry, Holy Wild, Gwen Benaway explores the complexities of being an Indigenous trans women in expansive lyric poems. She holds up the Indigenous trans body as a site of struggle, liberation, and beauty. A confessional poet, Benaway narrates her sexual and romantic intimacies with partners as well as her work to navigate the daily burden of transphobia and violence. She examines the intersections of Indigenous and trans experience through autobiographical poems and continues to speak to the legacy of abuse, violence, and colonial erasure that defines Canada. Her sparse lines, interwoven with English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), illustrate the wonder and power of Indigenous trans womanhood in motion. Holy Wild is not an easy book, as Benaway refuses to give any simple answers, but it is a profoundly vibrant and beautiful work filled with a transcendent grace.


Gwen Benaway

GWEN BENAWAY is the author of various poetry collections, including day/break and Holy Wild, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and which was also a finalist for various awards such as the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry. She has been a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Writers from the Writers’ Trust of Canada, and her personal essay, “A Body Like a Home,” was the Gold Prize Winner for the National Magazine Awards in Personal Journalism. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto in the Women and Gender Studies Institute.


“Benaway conjures trans life in a place that is both prior to and in excess of the violence that mires it. It is the emotional infrastructure for something like freedom. Let Benaway lead you there.” —Billy-Ray Belcourt, author of This Wound is a World

“As the poet says, ‘they want one thing and I am many.’ This book is many things, and we are grateful.” —Katherena Vermette, author of the award-winning novel The Break


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96 Pages
9.00in * 6.00in * .30in


September 01, 2018


Book*hug Press



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By (author): Gwen Benaway