It's been a while since we've added poetry to our library, and so this month we're adding two collections from Two-Spirit Indigenous poets.
The first book being added is full-metal indigiqueer by Joshua Whitehead. A mixture of storytelling and vivid verse, the collection introduces a character named Zoa and follows them through a strange and at times haunting world. From the publisher:
"This poetry collections focuses on a hybridized Indigiqueer Trickster character named Zoa who brings together the organic (the protozoan) and the technologic (the binaric) in order to re-beautify and re-member queer Indigeneity. This Trickster is a Two-Spirit / Indigiqueer invention that resurges in the apocalypse to haunt, atrophy, and to reclaim. Following oral tradition (à la Iktomi, Nanaboozho, Wovoka), Zoa infects, invades, and becomes a virus to canonical and popular works in order to re-centre Two-Spirit livelihoods. They dazzlingly and fiercely take on the likes of Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and John Milton while also not forgetting contemporary pop culture figures such as Lana Del Rey, Grindr, and Peter Pan. Zoa world-builds a fourth-dimension, lives in the cyber space, and survives in NDN-time – they have learned to sing the skin back onto their bodies and remain #woke at the end of the world. “Do not read me as a vanished ndn,” they ask, “read me as a ghastly one.”" "full-metal indigiqueer is influenced by the works of Jordan Abel, Tanya Tagaq, Daniel Heath Justice, Claudia Rankine, Vivek Shraya, Qwo-Li Driskill, Leanne Simpson, Kent Monkman, and Donna Haraway. It is a project of resurgence for Two-Spirit / Indigiqueer folk who have been ghosted in policy, page, tradition, and hi/story – the very lives of Two-Spirit / Indigiqueer youth are rarely mentioned (and even dispossessed in our very mandates for reconciliation), our lives are precarious but they too are precious. We find ourselves made spectral in settler and neocolonial Indigenous nationalisms – if reconciliation is a means of “burying the hatchet,” Zoa seeks to unearth the bones buried with those hatched scalps and perform a séance to ghost dance Indigiqueerness into existence. Zoa world-destroys in order to world-build a new space – they care little for reconciliation but rather aim to reterroritorialize space in literature, pop culture, and oral storytelling. This project follows in the tradition of the aforementioned authors who, Whitehead believes, utilize deconstruction as a means of decolonization. This is a sex-positive project that tirelessly works to create coalition between those who have, as Haraway once noted, “been injured, profoundly.” Zoa stands in solidarity with all qpoc folk who exist as ghosts with intergenerational and colonial phantom pains – they sing with Donna Summer, RuPaul, Effie White, and Trixie Mattel. The space made is a post-apocalyptic hub of sex and decolonization – a world where making love is akin to making live."
The second work is Disintegrate/Dissociate by Arielle Twist. Linking past and present, the collection explores the bounds of identity and trauma, all while reaching for a future of hope and beauty. The prize-winning collection shines and challenges, and Twist provides a moving and insightful look through the eyes of an Indigenous trans woman. From the publisher:
"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."