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Remind Me

An Afternoon with Billy-Ray Belcourt

Sunday Sep 08 2019 2:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium

In conversation with Rosanna Deerchild and signing NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field (House of Anansi). Co-presented by the Winnipeg International Writers Festival as part of their Voices in the Circle initiative celebrating Indigenous writing in Canada.

NDN Coping Mechanisms emerges out of a form of auto/ethnographic sensibility that is at turns campy and playful, jarring and candid, displaying. In this genre-bending work, Billy-Ray Belcourt employs poetry, poetics, prose, and photography to illuminate the rogue possibilities bubbling up everywhere NDNs are.

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 many awards, including the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize and was named the Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the 2018 Indigenous Voices Award. Billy-Ray is a Ph.D. 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.

Host Rosanna Deerchild is an award-winning Cree author and broadcaster. She has 20 years of experience telling story. Her latest poetry collection, calling down the sky, published by BookLand Press was shortlisted for the 2015 League of Canadian Poets’ Pat Lowther Memorial Award, the Manitoba Book Award - Lansdowne Prize for Poetry, and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year award. She works as the host of Unreserved on CBC Radio One.


NDN Coping Mechanisms

- by Billy-ray Belcourt

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In the follow-up to his Griffin Poetry Prize-winning collection, This Wound is a World, Billy-Ray Belcourt writes using the modes of accusation and interrogation. He aims an anthropological eye at the realities of everyday life to show how they house the violence that continues to reverberate from the long twentieth century. In a genre-bending constellation of poetry, photography, redaction, and poetics, Belcourt ultimately argues that if signifiers of Indigenous suffering are everywhere, so too is evidence of Indigenous peoples' rogue possibility, their utopian drive.

In NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, the poet takes on the political demands of queerness, mainstream portrayals of Indigenous life, love and its discontents, and the limits and uses of poetry as a vehicle for Indigenous liberation. In the process, Belcourt once again demonstrates his extraordinary craft, guile, and audacity, and the sheer dexterity of his imagination.

This Wound is a World

- by Billy-ray Belcourt

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Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound is a World is an invitation to "cut a hole in the sky to world inside." Billy-Ray Belcourt issues a call to turn to love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples shoulder sadness and pain like theirs without giving up on the future. His poems upset genre and play with form, scavenging for a decolonial kind of heaven where "everyone is at least a little gay."