Books·Poetry Month

Why poetry matters to Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Billy-Ray Belcourt

To celebrate National Poetry Month, CBC Books asked Canadian poets what the literary form means to them.
Billy-Ray Belcourt is an Indigenous poet, scholar and author from the Driftpile Cree Nation. (Billy-Ray Belcourt)

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, CBC Books asked poets the question: "What is the power of poetry?"

Billy-Ray Belcourt is a Rhodes Scholar and PhD student from Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta. His debut collection of poetry, This Wound is a World, merges the personal with the academic, envisioning a "decolonial kind of heaven that is searchable, findable" and is currently on the shortlist for the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize.

"Language is at the core of where a world gets imagined. This can be contra the conditions in which we find ourselves now, ones that unevenly produce flourishing and suffering.

"To me, poetry is how we go about dreaming up another world with alternate sets of political and intimate possibilities. It is how we prop up an emotional infrastructure that is enlivening, not smothering, that is motored by care, not despair."


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