Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on the 'queer poetic kinship web' Amber Dawn wove in her poetry
April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we're canvassing Canadian poets and asking them what Canadian poetry book has been meaningful to them.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is an award-winning poet and writer. Her latest collection, Tonguebreaker, was published at the beginning of March. The book reflects on the nature of love, the spectre of hate crimes, the suicides of queer kin and the rise of fascism.
Piepzna-Samarasinha says that a Canadian poetry book that is meaningful to her is Where the Words End and My Body Begins by Amber Dawn, published in 2015.
"I adore Amber Dawn's Where the Words End and My Body Begins. Dawn's poetry is a rigorous roadmap of queer, working class, rural, femme, sex worker, survivor's survival — not 'How do I get to my happy ending?' but, 'There is no ending, but here are some snapshots of the journey.' Her exquisite poems about queer home and madness and love and place-making are all glosas, a poetic form where you take four lines from a beloved poem and each line becomes the ending line of a stanza. The poems and poets she chooses — from Trish Salah to Gertrude Stein to Jillian Christmas to Lydia Kwa to, yes, me, weave a queer poetic kinship web. Her book is queer femme brilliance that delights me, reminds me of our queer survival, and makes me want to write, every time I re-read them."