The Big Melt

The Big Melt is the debut poetry collection by Nehiyaw writer Emily Riddle.

Emily Riddle

The cover of Emily Riddle's poetry book The Big Melt, which features yellow square graphics over a wavy blue-and-yellow background.

The Big Melt is a debut poetry collection rooted in Nehiyaw thought and urban millennial life events. It examines what it means to repair kinship, contend with fraught history, go home and contemplate prairie ndn utopia in the era of late capitalism and climate change.

Part memoir, part research project, this collection draws on Riddle's experience working in Indigenous governance and her affection for confessional poetry in crafting feminist works that are firmly rooted in place. This book refuses a linear understanding of time in its focus on women in the author's family, some who have passed and others who are yet to come.

The Big Melt is about inheriting a Treaty relationship just as much as it is about breakups, demonstrating that governance is just as much about our interpersonal relationships as it is law and policy. How does one live one's life in a way that honours inherited responsibilities, a deep love for humour and a commitment to always learning about the tension between a culture that deeply values collectivity and the autonomy of the individual? Perhaps we find these answers in the examination of ourselves, the lands we are from and the relationships we hold. (From Nightwood Editions)

Emily Riddle is Nehiyaw and a member of the Alexander First Nation (Kipohtakaw). A writer, editor, policy analyst, language learner and visual artist, she lives in Edmonton. Her writing has been published in the Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue, The Malahat Review and Room Magazine.

Riddle was shortlisted for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize.

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