Memoir as poetry

Sharon Thesen (l.) collaborated with wig-maker Janet Gallant to write a long poem about Gallant’s life after her mother left her with an abusive father at age three and later finding out she was bi-racial. FULL STORY

Not okay

July 02nd, 2020

Jaye simpson, who identifies as non-binary has written their first collection of poetry and prose, it was never going to be okay (Nightwood $18.95) due out in October. They explore intergenerational trauma, Indigeneity and queerness and also address urban Indigenous diaspora and breaking down the limitations of sexual understanding as a trans woman.

In an excerpt from their poem, boy, simpson recalls the early pain of being given a specific gender:

i am five
my sisters are saying boy
i do not know what the word means but
i am bruised into knowing it: the blunt b,
the hollowness of the o, the blade of y


Simpson is an Oji-Cree Saulteaux Indigiqueer whose roots hail from the Sapotaweyak, Keeseekoose & Skownan Cree Nations. They grew up primarily in the Vancouver area.

They are published in several magazines including Poetry Is Dead, This Magazine, PRISM international, SAD Magazine: Green, GUTS Magazine, SubTerrain, Grain and Room. They are in two anthologies: Hustling Verse (2019) and Love After the End (2020). Simpson self-describes as a displaced Indigenous person “resisting, ruminating and residing on” Musqueam, Tsleil-waututh and Squamish First Nations territories.

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