cover image Spawn


Marie-Andree Gill, trans. from French by Kristen Renee Miller. Book*hug, $18 trade paper (90p) ISBN 978-1-77166-597-1

A coming-of-age story unfolds on the shores of Quebec’s Lake Piekuakami in the spare, meditative fourth book from Gill (Béante). Divided into sections (among them “The Rampart,” “The Reserve,” and “Adolescence”) these short, untitled poems evoke their setting, the Mashteuiatsh Reserve (the life cycle of the ouananiche tribe serves as a motif throughout the collection), investigating colonial impact while weaving elements of resilience and chance: “day and night the dandelions push/ through cracks in the cement// and before us, the lake/ a luck/ the lake.” This last line repeats in other contexts: “A luck: the arena at night and making out/ behind the police station/ the northern lights dancing on nintendo/ chicken buckets... And the lake, a luck, the lake.” The question of fate appears elsewhere, “how to augur anything/ but crooked miracles/ anyway.” Gill’s political concerns are lightly handled by these precise lines, as she writes in “The Reserve”: “I am a village that didn’t have a choice.” The journey of Gill’s lyric speaker is at once relatable in its particulars and distinctively evocative. Miller’s skillful translation makes vivid a landscape and language that will transport readers. (Apr.)