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A History of My Brief Body (Paperback)

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This collection of essays (written by a phenomenal poet) is smart, intricate and incredibly well written. It's a short read, but it now lives next to my favorite poetic reference books on my bookshelf. Most of the essays center around gender, ethnicity, nationhood and the intersectionality of all three as they relate to the author's identity as a Queer Native American. The essays are deeply personal and thought-provoking. I devoured this book. If you enjoy Mary Ruefle or Maggie Nelson, you'll love this book!

— From A History of My Brief Body


"In this stunning essay-collection-cum-prose-poem-cycle, Belcourt meditates on the difficulty and necessity of finding joy as a queer NDN in a country that denies that joy all too often. Out of the 'ruins of the museum of political depression' springs a 'tomorrow free of the rhetorical trickery of colonizers everywhere.' Happiness, this beautiful book says, is the ultimate act of resistance." --Michelle Hart, O, The Oprah Magazine
The youngest ever winner of the Griffin Prize mines his personal history in a brilliant new essay collection seeking to reconcile the world he was born into with the world that could be.

For readers of Ocean Vuong and Maggie Nelson and fans of Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot, A History of My Brief Body is a brave, raw, and fiercely intelligent collection of essays and vignettes on grief, colonial violence, joy, love, and queerness.

Billy-Ray Belcourt's debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. Piece by piece, Billy-Ray's writings invite us to unpack and explore the big and broken world he inhabits every day, in all its complexity and contradiction: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it; first loves and first loves lost; sexual exploration and intimacy; the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781937512934
ISBN-10: 1937512932
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio
Publication Date: July 14th, 2020
Pages: 142
Language: English