Bill Arnott’s Beat – National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month: NPM2020

April is National Poetry Month. This year’s theme, A World of Poetry.

A world of poetry. This, I understand. Being witness to stomped-verse haka in Waitangi, the lyrical thrum of Outback didgeridoo, breathy sax in a wet London underpass, red slashed characters on a mud wall in Hebei, tanka blurred through joss smoke in Kyoto, rantings of a street poet in Times Square, the guttural slur of a Greenlandic hymn, and a master’s spoken-word reverberating on old timber, sibilant sea hissing through cracked glass.…

The Court of Better Fiction: Three Trials, Two Executions, and Arctic Sovereignty by Debra Komar

What better place to write and research a historic event that took place in Canada’s far north than while living in Canada’s north? Debra Komar was writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City for one year and considered her time there one of the “greatest experiences” of her life.

The result is a concise, scathing, and at the same time, sympathetic account of a travesty of justice committed against the Indigenous peoples living above the Arctic Circle. …

Nirliit by Juliana Léveillé-Trudel

On the back cover of Nirliit (2018, Véhicule Press) there is a quote by Dorothée Berryman of La Presse that perfectly sums up how I felt about reading this small, but transcendent novel: “I’m about to reread this book because its powerful beauty haunts me.” I did reread the book, but only after I was almost finished it and I felt I needed to go back to recapture the mood of the book; I felt I was reading it too fast and not absorbing the acute perceptions of the author regarding her time spent in the northern Quebec Inuit village of Salluit.…