NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: Celebrating Indigenous Poetry

Five Weeks, Five Books
Celebrating Indigenous Poetry during National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and although it may seem like everything is suspended while we are practicing social distancing, we at Kegedonce heartily believe that we have more cause than ever to indulge in and celebrate poetry!

For five weeks, we are highlighting five of our recent poetry collections, one per week. Check out our website, Facebook and Instagram pages for images, excerpts and other tidbits about these five fabulous Indigenous poetry collections. Although we are not currently shipping orders from our local warehouse, all of our books can still be ordered online at All Lit Up. What better time to support Canadian poets and publishing! 

Week 5, you are enough: love poems for the end of the world, by Smokii Sumac

Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award in Published Poetry in English!

In his debut poetry collection you are enough: love poems for the end of the world, Smokii Sumac has curated a selection of works from two years of a near daily poetry practice. What began as a sort of daily online poetry journal using the hashtag #haikuaday, has since transformed into a brilliant collection of storytelling drawing upon Indigenous literary practice, and inspired by works like Billy Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World, and Tenille Campbell's #IndianLovePoems.  With sections dealing with recovery from addiction and depression, coming home through ceremony, and of course, as the title suggests, on falling in and out of love, Sumac brings the reader through two years of life as a Ktunaxa Two-Spirit person. This collection will move you as Sumac addresses the grief of being an Indigenous person in Canada, shares timely (and sometimes hilarious) musings on consent, sex, and gender, introduces readers to people and places he has loved and learned from, and through it all, helps us all come to know that we are enough, just as we are. 

“Smokii Sumac offers our tired souls refuge, nourishment and hope in tiny successive bursts of light."
—Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, author of This Accident of Being Lost

Smokii Sumac and you are enough are currently featured on All Lit Up for National Poetry Month. Find an interview with Smokii here.50E7775F 6AF4 406A 884A 43C71610D7F9

Here is one of Smokii's amazing poems from you are enough: love poems for the end of the world:

how to support me today after Orlando

1.
do not bring up wounded knee, for that is my trauma, too. do not reach
into my gunshot wound unless it is to stop the bleeding and hold the
pieces of me together.

2.
do not perpetuate the hatred spat from the killer’s gun with your
responses. there is no space here for your racism. there is no space here
for your politics. there is no space here for your words unless they can
reach into this gunshot wound to stop the bleeding and hold the pieces
of me together.

3.
if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, two-spirit, trans, latinx, or anyone else
who knows this violence the way we do, please take care of yourself.
if you have words to share, spread them around this world and into
our wounds. if you cannot speak, let your silence resonate into us. let
us hold each other together our blood mixing in rainbows of love and
solidarity in candlelight unburdened by fda bans on our freedom to
relate to one another. let us reach into these gunshot wounds to stop the
bleeding and hold the pieces of each other together.

4.
if you are white or straight or anyone to which this violence is
unfamiliar, stop.
take a breath.
take another.
breathe our words into yourself.
if you must share, then share our stories. repeat our names. listen to our
heartbeats and make space for us to mourn, grieve, and be with one
another.
do not speak.
do not speak.
do not speak.
do not speak unless you are absolutely certain that your words can reach
into our gunshot wounds and stop the bleeding. Do not act unless you
know that your action will hold the pieces of us together.

5.
this one’s for the grandmothers. grandfathers. aunties and uncles. for
all our older relations who remain neither man nor woman but some
fierce being in between. this one’s for the stonewallers. for the bulldykes.
for the drag queens and the elders. for all the ones who came before
for those whose words and lives made this world feel safer, if only
for a second. for those rainbow warriors (no, not you), who raised their
fists and flags and lit our way out of closets and into communities. we
remember.

remember to hope. remember to dance. remember to open our bodies
to the possibilities of another being, the same being, only different. wet,
hard, hot, heavy, soft, juicy, thick, layered, beautiful in it’s newness,
incredible in it’s familiarity, raw, powerful, and awesomely sexy.
remember that we can reach in. we can stop the bleeding. we will hold
the pieces of you together. #morelove. always.

 

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