Monday, January 28, 2019

Wait - Ned Baeck (Guernica Editions)

Today's book of poetry:
Wait.  New Baeck.  Guernica Editions.  First Poets Series 18.  Toronto - Buffalo - Lancaster U.K.  2018.

Ned Baeck is down and out in Calgary and Vancouver.  This sort of drinking and poetry and poetry and drinking is suicide.  And from the edge of that precipice Wait mocks and provokes us.

Baeck is bleak and dark and wounded and wild and out of that wolf sneer side of his lucid mouth he's spitting poetry daggers.  Never has a poet so irritated, intrigued and impressed Today's book of poetry at the same time.  It's like Malcolm Lowry and his doomed being "eloquent in their sinking."


I jumped from a bridge
into the Niagara River
on a bright February afternoon.

It was cold as hell, and the crows
were frenzied when the man
with the hair-lip briefed me on murder. I followed
a dark horse, aware of breathing, maybe not,

there was in falling an ascendant peace
too heavy for space.
Don't look over your shoulder—
unwavering as I hurtle from the rail.

Plunged in and shot to the surface
gasping, voices calling me from shore.
Man woman dog. Saw them as I fell.
Claw cold water till I lose consciousness.

A torrent of electrodes
tears a ragged scream
from my throat.
Nothing has names

People cover me like insects.
I was in the river.

Maybe I will draw the crocus
and vole of spring
emerging from the teeth of the earth.
Word of mouth

for a warm breeze and a choked song:
watching, waiting,
adjusting to the light.

and when the sun sinks from the sky
I give my anxiety to the night,
settle in to undulation,

the stills and tosses
in the water
lit by the moon.
A forecast
for tomorrow:
the law of today, the lack

a voluminous glint
on our troubled path
by the highway.

The idyll
is a wrecking yard
and the hospital
can't hold you.

Nor mother nature,
though she is,
softly pursued,
as we carry out in waking
some of what we have in dreams.

A luminous inner body
through which bitter nettles seep,
poised to enter
the sun-ruled world
and fall apart without end.


And then Ned Baeck's Wait spills out a quiet and tender bon mot like this:


At the centre of the changing world,
someone with a bag of groceries.


Baeck probably does that just to see the look on our faces.

Today's book of poetry thinks that Ned Baeck has arrived fully formed with a strong disposition.  These poems ripple ripe because Baeck knows how to burn.

Protean Things

Maybe to forestall
I go out, though it's already late
and the dark a wilderness.

Armed and drunk,
a fire burning on each shoulder.

Orange, blue and yellow vines
lick the sides of the head,
ears mold to the hissing
pressure of heat, pulse beats out
its duty to blood.

Bones and notes decompose
like eyes, marrow and frequency like vision,
robust and undying.

Flesh will be
laid to waste,
care will be

All our actions tipping
into the grave before and after
us, chastening our claims, here and there
a face, an eddy in the stream, an important address
blending back to unreadable flow,
its brusque gait like a thief's.

Either you want it to last
or you want it to end
or you know it doesn't matter.

There isn't much time.
I'm not saying it's a rush
but there isn't much time.

Already we may have died,
talking decomposition,
although there may be
some kind of composure.
At least the dogsbody, empathy.

There is the limit
and the old growth within it:
degrees and features
at some level neutral, as people
say of weather.

But we die, stop arguing,
stop balancing,
we die
without consummating a wanted
or repulsive thing.

Until then we live it—the cavalcade
and neglected berths at the road-side,
shared with scarred and programmed
animals and images.
Many hard-won wounds
watched over by bacchanals and Samaritans.

Allotted to sniff out
and shrug off the panic,
eyes to rove for stragglers,
stammers of midday
in the ripening silence
so far behind
but still brought to attention
by the clarion call
of protean things.

So why do we think we can separate
our intent from the future, or metabolize
its gruel of almost and elsewhere?

We recoil from the given
as if it were the acid-burned face
of Pangaea, lissome
grandmother, ordinary girl
we have wanted, warred with,
and may even love.


Wait is unsettling, unnerving and totally necessary reading.  This is not poetry that will make you happy—but you will be engaged.

There are moments of tenderness and hope but you have to be looking for them.  Today's book of poetry was deeply moved reading Wait, when it grabs you, and it will, it gets in deep, right next to the bone.

A Brother's Sketch

I passed the hunched Knut Hamsun sick-man
in the middle of the crosswalk, red hand flashing—

he going south into the Punjabi village
and I going north, home, across
from the graveyard.

Most days, smoking, I see him from my balcony
overlooking the street—if not on the sidewalk—
scanning the ground for cigarette butts, unkempt
in ill-fitting clothes, the same too large pants
held up by hands in pockets,
grey-blue k-way jacket, colourless sneakers
rain or shine, winter, summer, slush or dust.

I wonder, did he flash
on mortality on morality
(testing victory truce and failure)
a lot and a long
until his mind detached—
stopped finishing his dreams
and couldn't flesh it out.

People think the feeling
you'll die is much. It isn't.
It's not a question of dying,
the trouble is entering
an unroofed labyrinth,
the slight one, but not seeing
your way through.

In your mind a sandcastle
based in the imperishable,
no doubt loved,
being slowly, patiently
licked away—
repatriated—and you still in it
not formed again.

And not being able
to go
where you need
to go
with no other worldly concern
is hell, or at least anguished displacement.
Anyone can tell you that,
and the ingredients are still here.

The mixture of disequilibrium
and just a tiny spout of direct reality
is enough to throw a person.
You might think you're capable
of monstrosity and heroism at once
and long for neutrality like an adolescent
for adulthood, maybe he longs like that.

Or maybe he just wants Lethe,
and to sew up the wounds of memory,
walks without stopping.

Once I offered him a cigarette
and he accepted it reluctantly,
disappearing it into his shirt.
But I could tell I was interrupting
a conditioning pattern,
introducing another blip of potential,
a shipment of blood into ghost-hood,
the possibility of it all happening again.
I haven't done it since.


Today's book of poetry is trying to get back to normal operations but we fear we're going to be a little light on the ground for the near future.  Milo, our head tech, and Kathryn, our Jr. Editor, have vanished.  They left a short note that lacked any detail.  They will be made to pay for it.

In the meantime you might want to listen to Sir Tom of Waits, patron saint and holy warrior, start with his monstrously good "If I Have To Go."  Today's book of poetry is certain that will put you in the perfect space for Ned Baeck's Wait.  It's a trip worth taking.

Ned Baeck

Ned Baeck

Ned Baeck lives in Vancouver. His poems have recently appeared in The Continuist, Sewer Lid, Prism International, poemimage, untethered, and Ottawa Arts Review. Wait is his first full-length collection of poems.

“Who, now that sadness is forbidden, dares weep, these poems pierce the psyche like spikes through our wooden heads.”
     —Claudio Gaudio, author of the novel Texas


Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Sleeping Things - Holly Iglesias (Press 53)

Today's book of poetry:
Sleeping Things.  Holly Iglesias.  Press 53.  Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  2018.

Sleeping Things cover.jpg

A prodigious list of appearances in a wide variety of literary magazines/journals speaks to the authoritative voice Holly Iglesias inhabits throughout Sleeping Things.  For people of my generation she has completely captured the zeitgeist of our times.

These poems bristle with the unbearable lightness of our sunshine youths and the undertoad of our modern indifference.

These prose poems bruise-blossom off of the page like a smart mouthed poetry patter raconteur.  Holly Iglesias makes it all look too easy.  As though just anyone could weave this tight and enticing fabric from the gossamer of scar and memory.

The Love There That's Sleeping

A Charlie Brown Christmas soothed us like it once
soothed my parents, who beckoned their children to
the couch to ingest the cartoon as an antidote to acid
rock. Thirty years later, they were gone, their stories
buried with them on a bluff above the river. The story
to bury with me will be that of scribbling a chord
progression from The White Album over and over on
the back of a grocery list, the pattern a sedative to dull
the news of the death of a boy I loved by his own
hand during the Bob Hope Bicentennial Special.


Holly Iglesias quotes good old Adam Zagajewski to get our engines started with Sleeping Things.

     In the past, we had faith in invisible
     things, in shadows and their shadows
                in light—

Today's book of poetry can be slow on the uptake, but we like Zagajewski (Milo, our head tech, went to the stacks and came back with Tremor - Selected Poems and Without End - New and Selected Poems by great Polish poet, for a reminder/refresher.).  

As the weather in Ottawa has been a little intense the last week or so, a couple of nights ago the temperature was -40C with windchill.  That's cold anywhere.  The roads are very icy because the cold we've just had has turned the ice to cement.  And we've had some serious snow fall.  So when Iglesias takes the reader to Miami, to Cuba, Today's book of poetry was completely up for that. 

Today's book of poetry has been a tourist in Cuba but Iglesias has intimate knowledge, her poems are honest, experienced, true.

Remote Control

On saintless days, those sad ellipses on the church
calendar, we pray to pure space, that place where the
future blooms, our mortal souls loosed into a cool blue
void, each isolate, the Mystical Body reduced to parts—
ear, thumb, thigh—then flung into orbit with the
monkeys and cosmonauts. Language freed from
schoolbooks—Run and see! Oh, run and see!—pages
disintegrating at the speed of light.


This morning's read was a little quieter than usual, some of our regular gang are awol, others absent without leave.  Kathryn, our Jr. Editor, liked the poems of Holly Iglesias so much that she insisted on doing the reading solo.  The rest of us hunkered down in the soft chairs and couches, and let Kathryn, our Jr. Editor, do her Holly Iglesias thing.

It was splendid.  Kathryn did Holly Iglesias proud.  And there's nothing quite like having good poetry read to you.  Of course Iglesias gave Kathryn all the ammunition she needed to blow us all away.  

Today's book of poetry snacked on Sleeping Things for a couple of days, taking quick hits and long glances.  We were always rewarded.

Hiroshima Flats

First a February tornado, prepping the area as though
it were a surgical field, when the wrecking balls and
bulldozers shoving away the rubble that once had been
sweet shop shoe shop barber shop millinery grocery
tavern church school tenement house doctor's office
dentist's office funeral parlor chili parlor bakery union
hall beauty salon drugstore five thousand structures
twenty thousand souls set again upon the migrant's
path carts piled with quilts and chairs and pots and
pans and cardboard boxes of photographs and
baptismal records the highway cutting through what
had been their neighborhood Novas Bel-Airs
Fleetwoods Falcons Galaxies Country Squires choking
the lanes the air fouled with exhaust.


Sleeping Things is infinitely more interesting than my meagre powers of description.  But you regular readers of Today's book of poetry know what cooks in my kitchen.  

Holly Iglesias burns.

And if you check out the blurbs below, our southern correspondent, dear friend and poetry Saint, David Clewell, adds to the chorus of those who have read and adored Iglesias.

Holly Iglesias web.jpg

Holly Iglesias

Holly Iglesias is the author of two poetry collections, Souvenirs of a Sunken World and Angles of Approach, and a critical work, Boxing Inside the Box: Women’s Prose Poetry. She has taught at University of North Carolina-Asheville and University of Miami, focusing on documentary and archival poetry, and translated the work of Cuban poet, Caridad Atencio. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Cultural Council, the Edward Albee Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her poems have appeared in many journals and in anthologies such as The House of Your Dreams: an International Collection of Prose Poetry,Nothing to Declare: a Guide to the Flash Sequence, The Best of the Prose Poem,and Sweeping Beauty: Contemporary American Women Poets Do Housework.

If you are a writer in want of dynamite material, it really helps if you grew up in a white bread Midwestern suburb and were taught by nuns (“Each night I pray one Hail Mary for good grades, one for a vocation, and one for miniature golf”), and as a young adult found yourself embedded in a refugee community, trapped in the middle of the culture wars. The threat of obliteration is a theme here, whether by air-raid or terrorist bomb or the conditions of exile. We may be, as the author claims, “a mere speck in the cosmos,” but in her hands, even a mere speck contains multitudes. Holly Iglesias’ Sleeping Things is a crowning achievement from one of our most wry, incisive poets—¡Perfecto!
     —Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To the New Owners: a Martha's Vineyard Memoir

Sleeping Things is luminous, marvelously succinct, and always engaging. Iglesias renders the spectacle of growing up not with reflexive, all-too-easy nostalgia but with clear-eyed affection, meticulous precision and gusto, giving day-to-day incidents and reclaimed details of that hopeful, rambunctious Cold War era a sense of delightful enterprise and luster. This new book is a refreshingly artful, savvy meditation on the past, rife with compassion and humor, one to celebrate, savor, and enjoy!
     — Cyrus Cassells, author of The Crossed-out Swastika

With stubborn joy, Iglesias refuses to let sleeping things lie, and we as readers are reawakened to why such human reclamation is so absolutely consequential. Whether turning her attention to Catholic grade school Cold War days where “students pray to pure space, that place where the future blooms,” the Cuban community in Miami conjuring an island that seems almost imaginary, or the glimpse of a younger self sipping coffee in Spain “dressed as the girl in Dylan’s song who never stumbles, who’s got no place to fall,” Iglesias unfailingly finds the pitch-perfect, sonic delight that only poetry can provide.
     —David Clewell, author of Taken Somehow by Surprise


Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Holy Nothing - Jessica Hiemstra (Pedlar Press)

Today's book of poetry:
The Holy Nothing.  Jessica Hiemstra.  Pedlar Press.  St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.  2016.


Reading Jessica Hiemstra's The Holy Nothing is exactly the poetry tonic needed by Today's book of poetry.  Some poets know how to cut right to the chase, hit the ground running.

Today's book of poetry just returned from an epic journey to the jowls of southern California and we were feeling a little poetry skeptical.  A little poetry jaded even.  All those highways outside and inside of Los Angeles is enough to put the fear in you.

Jessica Hiemstra is precisely the way to go.  In one of her poems Hiemstra has Irene's grandfather warming his wife's earrings in a moment so sweet and perfect that Today's book of poetry had a jaw drop moment.  Yes, yes, yes, but don't for one second think that Hiemstra is serving up treacle.  This stuff is pure.

The Holy Nothing will go a long way in proving Hiemstra to be one of those smart voices we need to hear from.  Canadian poetry needs this kind of voice in its choir.  

Jessica Hiemstra knows how hard and dark the world can be and she is willing to take you there.  One minute your warm heart glows with tenderness, the next, not so tender at all.


There are haloes
around light switches
elevator buttons. We touch
and take something, leave something.
Smudge of oil, fleck of paint.

I hold my heart, its worn
marble steps. Can you see it,
the dog moon halo of men
who paced here, pressed here,
took something, left me
nearly holy?


Jessica Hiemstra is great with a pencil, The Holy Nothing is riddled with excellent sketches and drawings by the poet, all of them quite lovely.  Today's book of poetry admired the drawings - but adored the poems.

With The Holy Nothing Jessica Hiemstra has found that sore spot we all have when we've lost someone very important, she strums that nerve as though she were Johnny Cash, diet-pill rapid and ripped, beating the bejesus out of his wooden box of a guitar.  Hiemstra has fine tuned that minor chord we bellow when we are all singing that song "loss."

Not sure how Hiemstra quite pulls it off but underlying all that turmoil, grief and leaving, there is an undercurrent of hope, a rim of possible light breaking crisp on the newly forming horizon.  It is not all grim.


I balance on silence in my skis
after lunch. Snow's not rain.
Love's not grace. I suppose

what I wanted was grace,
a version of atonement
that required nothing of me.

Of course I forgive you,
that was never a question.

Spring comes and means
nothing, but it's still holy.


Today's book of poetry was enthralled by The Holy Nothing, we knew after the first poem, just like after taking the first bite of a new recipe, all tasty hopeful, we were hooked.  The Holy Nothing didn't let us down.  

Our morning read was an unrehearsed pleasure.  Kathryn, our Jr. Editor, took the lead and assigned each of us our poems.  Kathryn said that these poems "tasted copper, tasted blood."  If Kathryn was meaning that they felt real and true then she was right on track.

How about this one:  Jessica Hiemstra's The Holy Nothing reads smart like Sue Goyette, tender like Wendell Berry and smartdark like Saint Susan of Musgrave.


Angry that his donkey got into a feed sack
a farmer in South America
poured gasoline on her and lit a match.

She ran blazing, ears back, circled home,
winded and raw. He was tender
with his salve, cursed himself
for cursing her.


Milo, our head tech, came up empty-handed after I'd sent him into the stacks to see if we had either of Jessica Hiemstra's earlier books of poetry.  Well, there's another name to add to our list of book searches.

Strong and smart always go a long way here at Today's book of poetry.  The Holy Nothing is pure petrol for your poetry engine.  High test.

Image result for jessica hiemstra photo

Jessica Hiemstra

Jessica’s widely published in literary journals and has edited anthologies of poetry, stories and essays. She’s won several awards for her poetry, and every time she finds the right words she’s surprised and happy.   At the moment Jessica’s writing from the second story of a little beige house in Toronto. She’s at work on a novel alongside her poems, paintings and drawings. 

"Hiemstra’s vulnerability and her resilience are palpable throughout this volume, and she addresses hard personal and universal truths with a relentlessly straightforward honesty. It is this honesty that makes her collection so compelling." 

Jessica Hiemstra
Tree Reading Series, Ottawa
26 January 2016
Video: Tree Reading Series

Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Monday, January 14, 2019

This Wound is a World - Billy-Ray Belcourt (Frontenac House Poetry)

Today's book of poetry:
This Wound is a World.  Billy-Ray Belcourt.  Frontenac House Poetry.  Calgary, Alberta.  2017.

Griffin Poetry Prize 2017
CBC Best Canadian Poetry Book
2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Winner

Billy-Ray Belcourt's stunning This Wound is a World deserved every prize it won and more.  There might be other poets who hammered at these walls but there has yet to be one, as far as Today's book of poetry is concerned, who might actually bring them down.  Billy-Ray Belcourt is such a poet.

It doesn't matter what you think you know about being gay or straight, Indigenous or not, these poems are going to change some of your perceptions.  In Today's book of poetry world we know that only the very best poems can pull off this sort of magic, this sort of medicine.

Billy-Ray Belcourt pulls the rabbit out his hat like some sort of Trickster.  The reader just has to sit back and watch the show.

The Cree Word For a Body Like Mine
Is Weesageechak

the cree word for a body like mine is weesageechak, the old ones know
of this kind of shape-shifting: sometimes i sweat and sweat until my 
bones puddles on the carpet in my living room and i am like the water
that comes before new life.

i was born during a falling leaves moon; which is to say that i have
always been good at sacrifice. it is believed that women are most
powerful during their moontime and because of this do not take part
in ceremonies in order to let the body cleanse itself. there are
weesageechak days when gender is a magic trick i forgot how to 
perform and my groin floods and floods trying to cleanse itself like
the women and i too become toxic for men who have built cages out
of broken boys.

maybe if i surrendered myself to grandmother moon she would know
what to do with these pickaxe wounds. there is so much i need to tell
her about how my rivers and lakes are crowded and narrowing. how i
managed to piece together a sweat lodge out of mud and fish and
bacteria. she gives me the cree name weesageechak and translates it to
"sadness is a carcass his tears leave behind."

and the crows and flies who don't care about gender will one day
make away with my jet-black finger nails and scraggly armpit hairs.
they will lay tobacco at my grave and tell their crow and fly kin that i
was once a broad-shouldered trickster who long ago fell from the
moon wearing make-up and skinny jeans.


Belcourt will be in a unique poetic position, everyone who reads poetry is going to be anxious to see what he does next.  Today's book of poetry is already convinced This Wound is a World is a Canadian classic, we will be looking at this marvel for a long time.

True, hard-nosed blood letting is a dangerous game to play.  But it is clear Belcourt has big shoulders.  In this case it means the poet has put it all up for grabs, Billy-Ray doesn't hesitate for one second, he is full in, all in.  Billy-Ray Belcourt is a straight up gunslinger poet with dead-eye aim.

And dear readers, there is so much happening in This Wound is a World that I simply won't be able to tell you.  For example, you all know how much Today's book of poetry loves "list" poems.  We are a sucker for them.  Billy-Ray Belcourt has several excellent, I repeat, excellent, list poems in This Wound is a World.  Today's book of poetry loves those list poems - but, but, but, this is a book brimming over with the necessary.

If I Have A Body, Let It Be a Book of Sad Poems

i keep listening to a song by tom odell called grow old with me, i am
hung up on the enormity of that kind of project, of asking someone
to architect a livable world with you, what a blessing and a curse!

i hooked up with a man who insisted he was 42, but i suspect he was
older given the soft and reckless way he met my body with his. it was
9pm and we were making small talk and he told me a story about
how a relationship of his had started and ended at the same ski resort
in france. recently, he returned to that resort, and was caught
unawares by a wave of memories about his ex-boyfriend. today,he
lives alone in a houseboat, unwilling to be beside himself with desire.
how could he have expected anything but what christina sharpe calls
"the past that is not past" to haunt him? maybe that is why he wanted
to sleep with me last night. maybe that is why i invited him over in
the first place. i should have said: i don't have it in me to transform you.

if i have a body, let it be a book of sad poems. i mean it. indigeneity
troubles the idea of "having" a body, so if i am somehow,
miraculously, bodied then my skin is a collage of meditations on love
and shattered selves.

ok yes, i have been reading a bit of psychoanalysis lately. forgive me.
i am desperate. desperate to figure out how someone like me is still

if i know anything, it is that "here" is a trick of the light, that it is a
way of schematizing time and space that is not the only one available
to some of us. maybe i am not here in the objectivist sense. maybe i
am here in the way that a memory is here. now, ain't that fucking sad
and beautiful?


Reading Billy-Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World the first time is like watching/hearing Stevie Ray Vaughan's all consuming attack on Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" for the first time.  It is hard to take it all in, quite, because the artist is so far ahead of the curve that the reader has to lean into it.  But make no mistake, Belcourt is:

     "Standing next to a mountain"

and will

     "chop it down with the edge of my hand."

It's exciting to read and instantly rewarding poetry.  Milo, our head tech, said that he had to get copies of This Wound is a World into the hands of a few of his friends, pronto.  Kathryn, our Jr. Editor, asked:  "Do you think he knows what he's done?"

To which Today's book of poetry replied, "Damned right he knows!"


in january 2017
two girls, 12, carried out a suicide pact
on the wapekeka first nation.
what is suicide
but the act of opening up
to the sky?
but wanting to live
more than once?
a cloud fell onto me
and i never felt more at home.
sometimes i cry
in indian
and it sounds like
i am speaking
in english.
don't open your eyes.
pretend that
everything is a bird
and no one is hungry
for what they can't have.


Today's book of poetry is certain that poetry this necessary will find an audience.  This Wound is a World is going to be remembered as a landmark book.

Today's book of poetry is thrilled to back on the job and excited to be starting the year with Billy-Ray Belcourt's amazing and brave This Wound is a World.

Image result for billy-ray belcourt photo

Billy-Ray Belcourt
Image from CBC Books

Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a PhD student in the Dept. of English & Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He is also a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and holds an M.St. in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford. Billy-Ray was named one of six Indigenous writers to watch by CBC Books in 2016, one of ten Indigenous writers to read right now by VICE in 2017, and he was the recipient of the 2017 P.K. Page Founder’s Award for Poetry. This Wound is a World is his first book.

Billy-Ray Belcourt
recites one of his poems
Video: Edmonton Journal


Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.