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Billy-Ray Belcourt | NDN Coping Mechanisms Launch

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Join Glass Bookshop, House of Anansi Press, and Latitude 53 in celebrating the launch of Billy-Ray Belcourt's new book, NDN COPING MECHANISMS.

This event will feature a reading by Billy-Ray Belcourt, and will be followed by a moderated conversation with fellow Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel.

In the follow-up to his Griffin Poetry Prize–winning collection, This Wound is a World, Billy-Ray Belcourt aims more of an anthropological eye at the contours of NDN and queer social worlds to spot much that is left unsaid when we look only to the mainstream media. In this genre-bending work, Belcourt employs poetry, poetics, prose, and textual art to illuminate the rogue possibilities bubbling up everywhere NDNs are.

Part One examines the rhythms of everyday life, which include the terrible beauty of the reserve, the afterlives of history, and the grammar of anal sex. Part Two experiments with form and practice, putting to use, for example, a mode of documentary poetics that unearths the logics that make and unmake texts like Treaty 8.

NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field emerges out of a form of auto/ethnographic sensibility that is at turns campy and playful, jarring and candid, displaying, once again, the writer’s extraordinary craft, guile, audacity, and the sheer dexterity of his imagination.

BILLY-RAY BELCOURT (he/him) is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. His debut book of poems, This Wound is a World, won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize and the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, and was named the Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the 2018 Indigenous Voices Award. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and the Raymond Souster Award. It was named by CBC Books as one of the best Canadian poetry collections of the year. Billy-Ray is a PhD student and a 2018 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He is also a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and holds a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies from Wadham College at the University of Oxford.

JORDAN ABEL is a Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Un/inhabited, and Injun (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize). Abel’s latest project NISHGA (forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart in 2020) is a deeply personal and autobiographical book that attempts to address the complications of contemporary Indigenous existence and the often invisible intergenerational impact of residential schools. Abel’s work has recently been anthologized in The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayward), The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry (Anstruther), Best Canadian Poetry (Tightrope), Counter-Desecration: A Glossary for Writing Within the Anthropocene (Wesleyan), and The Land We Are: Artists and Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation (ARP). Abel’s work has been published in numerous journals and magazines—including Canadian Literature, The Capilano Review, and Poetry Is Dead—and his visual poetry has been included in exhibitions at the Polygon Gallery, UNITT/PITT Gallery, and the Oslo Pilot Project Room in Oslo, Norway. Abel recently completed a PhD at Simon Fraser University, and is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta where he teaches Indigenous Literatures and Creative Writing.