cover image This Accident of Being Lost

This Accident of Being Lost

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. House of Anansi (PGW/Perseus, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $19.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0127-8

This is a stunning collection of poetry, song, and short fiction from Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg author Betasamosake Simpson (Islands of Decolonial Love), the inaugural recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. These short pieces are darkly humorous, elegantly constructed, and beautifully sorrowful. They include pieces that read like journal entries, science fiction stories, songs, and free-form poems. Regardless of their literary form, these works evoke indigenous heritage connection to the land, and the ways modern indigenous people straddle settler and indigenous worlds. They do not shy away from unflattering descriptions of settlers and settler-indigenous relations, nor do they avoid describing the power imbalance: “Their kids will still be white if they don’t have the kind of beach they want. Our kids won’t be Mississauga if they can’t ever do a single Mississauga thing.” The stories are not bleak, and a wry sense of humor glimmers throughout, walking hand in hand with damaged humanity to create a gentleness that combats the sometimes grim subject matter. Betasamosake Simpson explains in the acknowledgements that she wanted to write “unapologetically and truthfully so that I see myself and my community in these pages,” a feat she absolutely accomplishes. This is a truly creative and heartfelt work, thoroughly modern in tone and timbre. (Apr.)