Billy-Ray Belcourt is from the Driftpile Cree Nation and is a PhD student in the Department of English & Film Studies at the University of Alberta. His work has been widely published in magazines across Canada, and he has been named by Tracey Lindberg as one of six Indigenous writers to watch. In Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut poetry collection with Frontenac House, This Wound is a World, love answers heartbreak, “history lays itself bare” (42) and a world glimmering with decolonial love and queer, Indigenous possibilities is split open. 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,” (40) how worlds can be made and unmade. These are poems to be returned to again and again with reverence. PRISM editors, Jessica Johns and Selina Boan were thrilled to be able to sit down with Billy-Ray during his Vancouver book launch and chat about Indian Time, queer Indigenous futures, and the armpit as heaven’s wormhole.
Interview by Matthew Walsh.
Jen Sookfong Lee’s new book, Gentlemen of the Shade: My Own Private Idaho, is part film analysis and part cultural commentary, with glimpses of memoir. The book focuses primarily on My Own Private Idaho, Gus Van Sant’s 1991 film about two drifters—but there are asides that delve into 90s pop culture in general, with mentions of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s Nevermind album. My 90s memories returned to me through my reading of this short, precise analysis of 90s art and culture—a period when “our connection to beauty [was] universal, as [was] our search for identity.”