Mini Reviews: More Poetry

I’ve read a lot of poetry this year. I still have a few more collections to catch up on next but here’s the latest set of reviews!

Book cover for Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain. Illustrationg of a yellow sun and orange and brown hills.

Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain

In this incendiary debut collection, activist and poet Cicely Belle Blain intimately revisits familiar spaces in geography, in the arts, and in personal history to expose the legacy of colonization and its impact on Black bodies.

This is a really powerful collection told through different places and works of art as the author looks at race and queerness in these different spaces.

I’d seen this one shared by a lot of bloggers so I knew it was well-liked plus that cover is beautiful (you may remember when I shared it in a Top Ten Tuesday)! But I was so surprised when I opened it and saw the first poem was titled Manitoba, as well as poems for Toronto and Vancouver. So nice to see parts of home in this collection and be able to recognize the descriptions.

Book cover for Survival in its Many Shapes by Wil George. Light brown cover with simple type.

Survival In Its Many Shapes by Wil George
Genre: Poetry

I chose this book for IndigAThon’s Land Acknowledgment prompt to read a book by an Indigenous author whose tribal lands you live on. I live on the traditional and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh Nations. I had some difficulties finding local authors but I was very happy to find Wil George, a poet from the Tsleil Waututh Nation, at my local library! I’d still love to find more authors from these nations so if you have any recommendations, let me know!

The collection started a bit slow and simple for me but the later poems are where it really shone. The poems are explicitly about experiences of Indigenous peoples and the land, and the way George can write about these is so beautiful and immersive. Some of my favourite poems were “Snəwayəɬ (teachings)”, “hən’q’əmin’əm” about the sacredness of language, “Raven Flight”, and “Mountain Bedded Rock”, a poem of self and place written in memory of Chief Dan George.

“I pull myself away
from my place here,
denying that the world
shaking and falling apart
has anything to do with me.” (“Mountain Bedded Rock”, p. 46)

It’s a short and sweet collection and I’m happy to have stumbled on it!

Book cover for Indigena Awry by Marie Annharte Baker. White cover with a large black painted shape and small red circle.

Indigena Awry by Annharte (Marie Baker)
Genre: Poetry

While Indigena Awry is written for NDN persons, it is highly recommended for truth-seekers of every nature and anarchs of word and spirit. In an Annharte poem you might lose your way only to find what’s important.

Another book I read for IndigAThon, this time for the poetry prompt! And another one set largely in Winnipeg and Vancouver so I could recognize so many of these descriptions.

Some of these poems were knockouts for me while others were just okay. I saw a review that said to consider their review due to their inexperience reading poetry and I feel the same way. Several of the poems were strings of words with no verbs and it was difficult to read and understand them. Others were incredible descriptions of Indigenous peoples’ experiences that I’m sure ring true for many. A mixed bag for me but still happy to have read.

Have you read any books set in your home town?

Cover images and blurbs from Goodreads.

One thought on “Mini Reviews: More Poetry

  1. Pingback: Weekend Wrap-up Nov. 27 | Lines by Leon

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