Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut poetry collection, This Wound Is a World, is “a prayer against breaking”, writes trans Anishinaabe and Métis poet Gwen Benaway. “By way of an expansive poetic grace, Belcourt merges a soft beauty with the hardness of colonization to shape a love song that dances Indigenous bodies back into being. This book is what we’ve been waiting for.”
Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound Is a World is an invitation to “cut a hole in the sky / to world inside”. Belcourt issues a call to turn to love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples shoulder their sadness and pain without giving up on the future. His poems upset genre and play with form, scavenging for a decolonial kind of heaven where “everyone is at least a little gay”. Presented here with several additional poems, this prize-winning collection pursues fresh directions for queer and decolonial theory as it opens uncharted paths for Indigenous poetry in North America. It is theory that sings, poetry that marshals experience in the service of a larger critique of the coloniality of the present and the tyranny of sexual and racial norms.