NDN word warrior Marie Annharte Baker's fourth book of poems, indigena awry, is her largest and wildest yet. It collects a decade's worth of verse — 59 poems.
Set noticeably in Winnipeg and Vancouver, but in many other places on either side of the Medicine Line as well, the poems are a laser-eyed meander through contested streets filled with racism, classism and sexism. Shot through with sex and violence and struggle and sadness and trauma, her work is always set to detect and confront the delusions of colonialism and its discontents. These poems are informed by a sceptical spirituality. They call for justice for NDNs through the Permanent Resistance that goes around in cities. This is bruising and exacting stuff, but annharte is also one of poetry's best jokers. (From New Star Books)
From the book
Silence is a girl who once was in Winnipeg. She was a kid who lived on the same block half breeds occupied territory. In sunshine, rhinestones paved the back lane. She played without cutting her feet on the broken wine and beer bottles. Footwear was canvas tennis shoes with sparkles on the soles. Not beaded moccasins but close enough. Silence never did enjoy the sound of a wince or a whine. She got very tall but kept being a timid little girl. Her mouth kept shut. She displayed teenager blackheads on pale face Indian looks. Lucky she for pissed off often. Her complexion turned red in blotches. Hey, part red skin. No hopes to move up in the world. Not that she could fall in or out of a crack in the system. She was too modest to even notice her own crack. Anyway, she turned out multi cultured and multi coloured without trying hard.
From indigena awry by Annharte ©2012. Published by New Star Books.