This Accident of Being Lost

This Accident of Being Lost

Songs and Stories

Book - 2017
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"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 reserved"--Publishers Weekly.
Publisher: Toronto :, House of Anansi Press,, [2017]
ISBN: 9781487001278
Branch Call Number: SIMPS
Characteristics: 123 pages


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Sep 16, 2018

I checked this e-book out so I'd have some poetry for a trip; the poem I read first, to the oldest tree in the world, and the short story following the poem were so compelling that I turned to the beginning and read it through, flying across Canada over the Great Lakes, Minnesota, North Dakota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan to Alberta. I appreciated the satire, the pointed truths that are laden with anger and grief. "They won't change and we won't change and no amount of talking fixes that. They want a beach. We want rice beds. You can't have both. They want to win. We _need_ to win. They'll still be white people 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." "This week alone I've already googled "games white people play at birthday parties" (and then learned to leave out the "white people" part because white people think of them as just birthday parties)." We need to be confronted with the reality of being occupiers, causing occupation anxiety. I'll look for other books by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.

Mar 28, 2018

Gotta love this dame! Pissed off, articulate, insightful, irreverent and funny as an angry chicken at a Sunday-school picnic. Imagery that leaps off the page and stings like a handful of wasps.
Her send-up of a ballet mom (Tidy Bun) and Calgary's great flood broke me up, while at the other end of the spectrum, Seeing through the End of the World is just about the rawest, most deeply personal and moving bits of prose one is likely to encounter.

Mar 10, 2018

I loved the lyricism of her writing, and the power of her voice. I never knew what was coming next, and I really enjoyed the ride.

Jul 18, 2017

Simpson uses fiction as a vehicle to tell the truth.

And when fiction feels true, or real, it makes it all that much better. Her short fiction has distinctive multiple voices but I can feel her author’s touch in all of them and she makes me think about how I could be a better author or writer.

Her work as a musician means that her poetry reads and sounds like music. What I adore about her poetry is that it is not forced, it does not feel abstract in any way, I understand almost all of her poems which is a rare thing. Sometimes, with other authors, I just have to accept that if I read a poetry collection, I’m reading it for the language but not so with Simpson’s work.

Her work is so grounded and unapologetic — it’s sentimental and sweet and her creative feels sacred, like nothing can touch it. I love that when I read her works I feel like she’s there within the story itself. She’s not a puppeteer, steering the character’s from above, but she’s weaving the story like a tapestry and telling it as she weaves, so that I feel like her fiction is a living, breathing thing.

Simpson feels like someone who is so surrounded by fiction that it just pours out of her. I actually also really enjoyed how she wrote social media interactions in her short fiction. They feel actually authentic rather than manufactured and forced, as though writing on social media or using hashtags is somehow beneath all other authors. How many books have we all read that feature teenagers talking to each other via text using random acronyms and anagrams and bizarre vocab that we, as young people who regularly use social media, have never even seen before?

Although, I will be curious to see how this book ages. What will happen to Instagram in 10 years time? Although Simpson doesn’t reference it directly, it’s odd to think about the fact that technology will change so much in the next five years, let alone 10.

Her writing was so commanding but she felt so comfortable in her prowess. I loved this book.

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