Fertig’s new poems

“Poet, publisher and long-time supporter of the writing community, Salt Spring Island-based Mona Fertig (left) has released her first collection of poems in 14 years.” FULL STORY

 

Indigenous Voices Awards Winner

June 25th, 2024

BC based Indigiqueer Saulteaux, Cree and Métis writer, author and poet, Brandi Bird, wins the Poetry in English Award by the 2024 Indigenous Voices Awards for their debut book of poems, The All + Flesh (House of Anansi Press $19.99). The total prize money of $20,000 is shared between Bird and five other winners from different categories.

“I am made of centuries & carbohydrates / the development of my molars /the hunger the teeth grew / has been with me since childhood / I can’t escape the mouths of others” writes Bird in The All + Flesh, exploring health, language, place and memory, connecting the author to their kin, blood relatives, and ancestral lands. Through frank, transcendent poems, Bird examines and deconstructs relational binaries to envision a decolonial future. The collection delves into how outer and inner landscapes shift within the English language’s confines, especially for those disconnected from their Indigenous languages or homelands. Reflecting on their Saulteaux, Cree and Métis heritage, Bird’s poems navigate cultural lineages and transformative identities that shape their sense of self.

This is what the Jury had to say about Bird’s book: “In The All + Flesh, Brandi Bird creates the world out of the mud, like zhashk (muskrat) for their readers. This is a skillfully crafted collection, with so much care for form, their readers, and their community. A world of dizzying sickness and punch-to-the-gut heartache, Bird takes us in and leaves us wordless, breathless, the reader doubled over, curling into the poem. “How miraculous / to be water everywhere,” Bird writes—and with their visceral and reflective language, Bird surrounds the reader. How miraculous for Bird’s poems to become the water, for the reader to be sitting in the river of this work, feeling pulled and pushed and sinking into the earth. The call of a poem song invites us in and yet reminds us that even though we are all water, there are spaces between us, between the lines, mud slipping between fingers. If I am a lake let Bird’s poems “fall / & fossilize / at the bottom” of me.”

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ABOUT THE AWARD

The Indigenous Voices Awards is the only major Canadian literary prize to celebrate creativity and excellence in published and unpublished work in English and French by emerging Indigenous writers. The IVAs began in 2017 with a crowd-funded purse of just over $115,000, and to date the IVAs have now awarded a total of $206,000 to emerging Indigenous writers of all ages, working in a variety of genres and languages. It has also provided $20,000 in prize money over the past three years to honour established Indigenous writers working in English and French, through the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal.

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