Leanne Betasamosake Simpson on how poetry exists between time and space
April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, CBC Books asked poets the question: "What is the power of poetry?"
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg musician, artist, author and member of Alderville First Nation.
- How turning to her Nishnaabeg roots helped Leanne Betasamosake Simpson overcome a creative challenge
Her work often centres on the struggles of Indigenous Canadians. Her latest book, a collection of stories and poems called This Accident of Being Lost, was on the shortlist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
"Poetry, and I mean all kinds of poetry — rap, lyrics, ancient stories echoing into the future from the present, the sounds and vibrations of Indigenous languages, the interstitial spaces between notes, and poetics of ice melting — is important because poetry holds space for other worlds.
"Worlds that exist despite and in spite of the tremendous violence of colonialism or anti-Blackness. Imagined, realized, birthed even temporarily, poetry allows us to feel and taste and breath freedom."