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Indigenous Poetry and Poets

Getting Started

X̱wi7x̱wa Library houses, and is continually building, a collection of poetry by Aboriginal Canadian and Indigenous writers from so-called Canada and beyond. Our collection includes many small-press publications and emerging poets, as well as the biggest names in Indigenous poetry and publishing

Featured Poetry Collections

This Wound is a World : Poems

Billy-Ray Belcourt

"Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound is a World is an invitation to 'cut a hole in the sky to world inside.' Billy-Ray Belcourt issues a call to turn to love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples shoulder sadness and pain like theirs without giving up on the future. His poems and essays upset genre and play with form, scavenging for a decolonial kind of heaven where 'everyone is at least a little gay."

Whereas

Layli Long Soldier

"This volume confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through an array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created an innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations."

 

Disintegrate/Dissociate : Poems

Arielle Twist

"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."

Devil in the Woods

D.A. Lockhart

"D.A. Lockhart’s stunning and subversive fourth collection gives us the words, thoughts, and experiences of an Anishinaabe guy from Central Ontario and the manner in which he interacts with central aspects and icons of settler Canadian culture. Riffing off Richard Hugo’s 31 Letters and 13 Dreams, the work utilizes contemporary Indigenous poetics to carve out space for often ignored voices in dominant Canadian discourse (and in particular for a response to this dominance through the cultural background of an Indigenous person living on land that has been fundamentally changed by settler culture)."

Sôhkêyihta : the Poetry of Sky Dancer

Sky Dancer Louise Bernice Halfe

Sôhkêyihta includes searing poems, written across the expanse of Halfe's career, aimed at helping readers move forward from the darkness into a place of healing. Halfe's own afterword is an evocative meditation on the Cree word sôhkêyihta: Have courage. Be brave. Be strong.