Books

Polaris Music Prize finalist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson loved Billy-Ray Belcourt's This Wound is a World

The 2021 Polaris Prize finalist says the acclaimed poetry collection "redefines poetics as a refusal of colonial erasure."

Simpson is a finalist for her album Theory of Ice

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson recommends poetry collection This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt. (Frontenac House, Nadya Kwandibens)

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a multitalented and multidisciplinary Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, scholar, activist and musician. Simpson is on the shortlist for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize with her album Theory of Ice.  

The Polaris Music Prize annually celebrates the best Canadian album of the year, awarding the artist $50,000. There are 10 albums on the shortlist. The winner will be announced on Sept. 27, 2021.

Theory of Ice is Simpson's fourth full-length musical release since her 2013 debut, Islands of Decolonial Love. Inspired by the phenomenon of a frozen lake thawing as the weather gets warmer, Theory of Ice is an exploration of nature and climate change, the power of political protest and the lasting legacy of colonialism on Indigenous people and communities in North America. 

Much like her music, Simpson's literary work often centres on the experiences of Indigenous Canadians. Her books include Islands of Decolonial LoveThis Accident of Being LostDancing on Our Turtle's Back, As We Have Always Done and Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies, which was a recent finalist for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Prize for fiction

In 2017, CBC Books asked authors to share their favourite books of the year. Simpson recommended This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt.

A 'breathtaking masterpiece'

"This Wound is a World is a decolonial wild fire from which the acclaimed writer Billy-Ray Belcourt builds a new world — and it's the brilliant, radiant Indigenous world I want to live in. His poetics create space out of nothing, unapologetically inhabit that space and then gift it to us with uninhibited love. 

His poetics create space out of nothing, unapologetically inhabit that space and then gift it to us with uninhibited love.

"Belcourt is sovereign genius and This Wound is a World redefines poetics as a refusal of colonial erasure, a radical celebration of Indigenous life and our beautiful, intimate rebellion.

"This is a breathtaking masterpiece. Belcourt has emerged fully formed."

WATCH | CBC Music profiles Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson | Theory of Ice | Polaris Short List 2021

2 months ago
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Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's album Theory of Ice is shortlisted for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize. 1:50

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