NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field

NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field

by Billy-Ray Belcourt

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487005788
Publisher: House of Anansi Press Inc
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 112
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

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 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.

Table of Contents

I

A Country Is How Men Hunt 3

NDN Brothers 5

The Terrible Beauty of the Reserve 7

A Lover's Discourse 9

What to an NDN Is the Intrinsic Goodness of Mankind? 11

The Wall Clock Caught Fire from Neglect 13

I Become Less of Who I Am by the Second 16

Cree Girl Blows Up the Necropolis of Ottawa 17

At the Mercy of the Sky 21

A Romance of the Present 24

I Douche While Kesha's "Praying" Plays from My iPhone on Repeat 26

Leonardo DiCaprio 28

Duplex (The Future's a Fist) 30

Canadian Horror Story 31

Regarding Death, I Turn to the Photon 35

Canadian Sonnet 37

NDN Homo Sonnet 38

II

Treaty 8 45

Ars Poetica 55

Flesh 57

Melancholy's Forms 62

Hypotheses 68

Desire Made Waste Out of Time 69

Red Utopia 73

Notes from the Field 80

Fragments Ending with a Requiem 82

I Believe I Exist 85

Notes 89

Acknowledgements 93

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

PRAISE FOR BILLY-RAY BELCOURT AND NDN COPING MECHANISMS :

A Library Journal Best Book of 2019

“Both intellectual and visceral, these poems dazzle with metaphoric richness and striking lyricism.” — Toronto Star

“An impressive follow-up to his first book.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“Playful, candid, and campy.” — Prairie Books NOW

“A masterful blend of the personal and the political, the ephemeral and the corporal, the theoretical and the emotional.” — Quill & Quire

“For all the ferocious energy and one-two punch of language here, this is also a concentrated, beautifully managed work.” — Library Journal

“This brilliant book is endlessly giving, lingering in tight spaces within the forms of loneliness, showing us their contours. These poems do the necessary work of negotiating with the heart-killing present from which we imagine and make Indigenous futures. Every line feels like a possible way out of despair.” — Elissa Washuta, author of My Body Is a Book of Rules

“‘I believe I exist. / To live, one can be neither / more nor less hungry than that.’ How grateful I am that Billy-Ray Belcourt and these poems believe in themselves enough to exist. With prodigious clarity, this work moves swiftly amongst theory and prose, longing and lyric, questioning and coping, ‘not dying’ and ‘obsessively apologizing to the moon for all that she has to witness.’ It is not hyperbole to say these poems are brilliant. And so brilliantly, searingly, they live.” — TC Tolbert, author of Gephyromania

NDN Coping Mechanisms is a haunting book that dreams a new world — a ‘holy place filled with NDN girls, hair wet with utopia’ — as it simultaneously excoriates the world that ‘is a wound’ and the historic and present modalities of violence against Indigenous peoples under Canadian settler colonialism. Belcourt considers the genocidal nation-state, queerness, and the limits and potential of representation, often through a poetic/scholarly lineage that includes Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Saidiya Hartman, Anne Boyer, José Esteban Muñoz, Christina Sharpe, and Gwen Benaway, among others. This is the beautiful achievement of NDN Coping Mechanisms: Belcourt conjures a sovereign literary space that refuses white sovereignty and is always already in relation to the ideas of the foremost decolonial poets and thinkers of Turtle Island.” — Mercedes Eng, author of Prison Industrial Complex Explodes

PRAISE FOR BILLY-RAY BELCOURT AND THIS WOUND IS A WORLD :

Winner, Griffin Poetry Prize
Winner, Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
Winner, Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer, Indigenous Voices Award
Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry
Finalist, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
Finalist, Raymond Souster Award
A CBC Books Best Poetry Collection of the Year

“Blending the resources of love song and elegy, prayer and manifesto, Billy-Ray Belcourt’s This Wound is a World shows us poetry at its most intimate and politically necessary. Mindful of tangled lineages and the lingering erasures of settler colonialism, Belcourt crafts poems in which ‘history lays itself bare’ — but only as bare as their speaker’s shapeshifting heart. Belcourt pursues original forms with which to chart the constellations of queerness and Indigeneity, rebellion and survival, desire and embodiedness these poems so fearlessly explore. Between its bold treatment of sexuality and wary anatomy of despair, This Wound is a World peels back the layers of feeling and experience to offer, finally, the glimmerings of hope — which only sometimes looks like escape: ‘follow me out the backdoor of the world.’ This electrifying book reminds us that a poem may live twin lives as incantation and inscription, singing from the untamed margins: ‘grieve is the name i give to myself / i carve it into the bed frame. / i am make-believe. / this is an archive. / it hurts to be a story.’” — 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize Judges’ Citation

This Wound is a World is a decolonial wild fire from which the acclaimed writer Billy-Ray Belcourt builds a new world — and it's the brilliant, radiant Indigenous world, I want to live in. His poetics create space out of nothing, unapologetically inhabit that space and then gift it to us with uninhibited love. Belcourt is sovereign genius and This Wound is a World redefines poetics as a refusal of colonial erasure, a radical celebration of Indigenous life and our beautiful, intimate rebellion. This is a breathtaking masterpiece. Belcourt has emerged fully formed.” — Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, CBC Books

“Belcourt, in a cutting, contemporary idiom, has made himself the urgent fresh voice of his generation.” — Edmonton Journal

“This is poetry at its brightest. It is electric, profound, necessary work. Belcourt bends genre, challenging the cage of colonialism through a poetics of intimacy. It is a collection unafraid to ask questions, exploring grief, desire, queer sexuality, and Indigeneity with tender honesty. Belcourt asks us to consider the ways Indigenous bodies can be simultaneously unbound and ‘rendered again,’ how worlds can be made and unmade. These are poems to be returned to again and again with reverence.” — Prism International

“Billy-Ray Belcourt’s poems are full of sound. They are cacophonous enunciations of both the blaring and imperceptible legacies of colonization that resonate in contemporary life.” — CBC Arts

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