Winner of the 2016 Trillium Book Award * 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist
A collection of poems partially based on the Reena Virk murder case.
Virk was an Asian adolescent whose drowned body was found in the Gorge Waterway in a Victoria, BC suburb, in 1997. Some of the poems use found material from court transcripts. The murder made international headlines due to the viciousness employed by Virk's assailants: seven girls and one boy between the ages of 13 and 16, five of whom were white. The poems examine in part the poet's remembrances of girlhood, the unease of adolescence, and the circumstances that enable some to pass through adolescence unhurt.
Soraya Peerbaye's first collection of poetry, Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (Goose Lane, 2008), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Tell: poems for a girlhood (Pedlar Press, 2015) was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the recipient of the Trillium Award. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, and is an advocate for equity in the arts. She lives in Toronto with her daughter.
"Harrowing and deeply empathetic, Tell: poems for a girlhood traces the events surrounding the 1997 murder of teenager Reena Virk by a group of high school classmates. Peerbaye bears brave witness to the unspeakable brutality of these events, drawing from testimonies of the convicted, the victim's autopsy report, and a history of the landscape itself. And yet, the power of this book derives only partly from the unbearable facts of violence, hatred, and alienation. The true miracle of Tell is not merely its choice to sing of such things, but its ability to sing in such a way as to urge the reader to embrace painful sympathies. Peerbaye's language becomes a vehicle not just for exploring what others in the world may be capable of, but also of drawing readers into excruciating proximity with our own adolescent longing, fear, shame and rage." — Jury Citation, 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize
"Peerbaye's brilliance—and yes, this poetry is transcendentally brilliant—is her commitment to image as memory, and memory as empathy." — Corrine Gilroy
"An uncommonly meaningful collection." — Dr. Bakul Banerjee
This book is grounded in W. Strawn Douglas' personal battle with mental illness and his experiences with it at the mental institution where he's lived for almost three decades. Different portions of it were created in different times, with Douglas in a variety of different mindsets, and it concerns itself mainly with the hoops that the government wants people who are mentally ill to jump through in all too often vain hopes of regaining their freedom. Some of the hoops are admittedly linked to reasonable goals and ideals. Unfortunately, too many others only serve the whims of our captors, serving the traditions of abuse in the oxymoron of “forced care.”
William Strawn Douglas currently resides at the Minnesota Security Hospital, Saint Peter, Minnesota, where he was committed under a diagnosis of being Mentally Ill and Dangerous in 1993. That was the aftermath of an incident where he stabbed a young woman in the leg during a schizophrenic episode, thinking he could use the “incident” as a way to draw “the law’s” attention to drug distribution activities he objected to.
Larry Etkin is a veteran communications professional who has worked more than four decades as a writer, editor, publication designer, and public relations consultant and media planner. He has designed and edited more than 100 books and scientific research monographs, including the cover graphic for this volume.
Poetic tales that unfold through the voice of ê-kwêskît, Turn-Around Woman--tales imbued with vital themes of Indigenous experience: culture, language, colonialism, residential schools and more. The poems of The Crooked Good are threaded throughout with names, phrases, and verses in Cree; its personal stories framed within the fireside tales of Rolling Head Woman, who is both nightmare and culture hero. Evocative, moving, and powerful poetry from a master poet.
Louise Bernice Halfe, whose Cree name is Sky Dancer, was born in Two Hills, Alberta. She was raised on the Saddle Lake Indian Reserve and attended Blue Quills Residential School. Halfe first published her poetry in Writing the Circle: Women of Western Canada. She has since published four poetry collections, with a fifth to be released in 2021. A retrospective of her work, Sôhkêyihta, was published by Wilfrid Laurier Press in 2018. Blue Marrow was first published in 1998 and was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Poetry, Pat Lowther Award, and Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award.
Halfe, whose works are well known for their inclusion of Cree language and teachings, served as poet laureate of Saskatchewan, only the second person to do so. She has been awarded three Honourary Degrees of Letters, from Wilfrid Laurier University (2018), the University of Saskatchewan (2019) and Mount Royal University (2021). She works as an Elder at the University of Saskatchewan where she is a consultant in several departments. In 2020 she won the Cheryl & Henry Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence and was awarded a lifetime membership with the League of Canadian poets. She lives just outside of Saskatoon.
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