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Everything is Something Else: In Conversation with Billy-Ray Belcourt

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.

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