CBC Literary Prizes

Conversations with Niton, Have you ever fallen in love with a day by Selina Boan

Selina Boan has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist for Conversations with Niton, Have you ever fallen in love with a day.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist

Selina Boan is a poet from Vancouver. (Kayla MacInnis)

Selina Boan made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist for Conversations with Niton, Have you ever fallen in love with a day.

She will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and her work has been published on CBC Books.

Matthew Hollett won the CBC 2020 Poetry Prize with Tickling the Scar

You can read Conversations with Niton and Have you ever fallen in love with a day below.


Conversations with Niton

"We knew that our language came before the world" - Terese Marie Mailhot 

this forest has the lip ring of ur teenage dreams
spun moss so metal it hurts 

u grind ur teeth hard 
battle urself like pikachu versus pikachu

electric shock that burns everyone 
except the grass 

inside u
language is a mosh pit 

it spits  shoves   grins 
sweats rivers, pulls hailstorms 

it is push of aster, lake grunt
in memory before memory 

u learn, nipiwahcāw
the ground is wet 

like the middle of u
all ur failures line up as teeth 

familiar and necessary 
like leaving ur body for a time

u believe u are not enough if ur not loved
watch a woman undress at the lake

unbutton jean shorts, slip morning off
near empty slurpee cups, leftover 

brain freeze, u swallow 
indecent in ur missing of other lips 

a lighting strike between selves 
rare and unforgiving 

like the taste of armpit sweat
a boiled egg

lodged in the throat
cooked in an inch of reservoir 

water, u drink 
to live

ur grief holding
like a day, inside 

prayer for endless sky
u know

tumble and fling
language like a lighter

like a flame turning        to dance   

 

Have you ever fallen in love with a day

that senselessly beautiful way light filters a forest        all gold body, all quiet sway
so soft on the inside u get drunk on it
pine cones hanging from ur brain
a shelter from the teeth of animals   morning ice    love's shadow

ur learning ur language on twitter    
googling the weather in Nehiyawewin              tānisi ê-isi wêpahk                         
how is the weather being flung? 
copper wires of rain heaved like a body touching itself
over this day   drowning all undershirts and sorrow

most days u hate urself          play online poker with the currency of skittles
enter anonymous chat rooms to meet other women 
u leave band-aids in the river       cut ur roommate's hair
with gloved hands on the back porch
ends scattering like body glitter    like rain

if sadness is a legacy, so is joy
and so, payipāstêw    the sun shines through a hole in the clouds 
and in this forest moss crawls up ur legs    tinted with heat   curled like eyelashes under metal

how to be as loveable and dangerous as the sun?
how to love like a day? not endlessly but with care for every forest or room you touch
every spot there is light  


Read the other finalists

About Selina Boan

Selina Boan is a white settler-nehiyaw writer living on the traditional, unceded territories of thexʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples. Her debut poetry collection, Undoing Hours, is forthcoming in spring 2021. Her work has been published in The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 and 2020. She has received several honours, including the 2017 National Magazine Award for Poetry and Room Magazine's Emerging Writer Award. She is currently a poetry editor for Rahila's Ghost Press and is a member of The Growing Room Collective. Boan made the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize shortlist with her poem In six, the seasons

The poems' source of inspiration

"These two poems reach towards the challenges, deep reverence, shame and joy that accompanies the process of my (very slow) learning of Nêhiyawêwin. These are poems about land, language, and the body. They tangle themselves up in the messy, powerful, unromantic learning process. 

These two poems reach towards the challenges, deep reverence, shame and joy that accompanies the process of my (very slow) learning of Nêhiyawêwin.

"There is an inherent tension and violence between English and Nêhiyawêwin; I am mindful of the way my body holds both and the responsibilities I carry as a white settler-nehiyaw. In my poems, I am drawn towards the way language and naming informs identity, yields power, memory and cultural knowledge. It can erase, it can empower. It imparts how we construct and view the worlds around us."

About the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

The 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January and the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

In Partnership With

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now