National Poetry Month Celebration: Marie-Andrée Gill, translated by Kristen Renee Miller

Our National Poetry Month Celebration continues. Today’s poem is an untitled selection from Spawn by Marie-Andrée Gill, translated by Kristen Renee Miller. Celebrated poet Kaveh Akbar writes that “Spawn is unforgettable poetry of the highest order.” Today also happens to be the official release date for this stunning collection. Happy Publication Date to Spawn!

Spawn is a braided collection of brief, untitled poems, a coming-of-age lyric set in the Mashteuiatsh Reserve on the shores of Lake Piekuakami (Saint-Jean) in Quebec. Undeniably political, Marie-Andrée Gill’s poems ask how one can reclaim a narrative that has been confiscated and distorted by colonizers.

Remember to follow along all month as we celebrate our poets by sharing a poem each day on the Book*hug Blog. Follow us as well on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

And now, onto today’s poem. Click on the video to watch Kristen Renee Miller read the untitled poem and follow along with the text below.

to lick the skin of the water
with a tongue I don’t speak

the day lifts me up on his shoulders to watch
the varnish half-stripped from our memories
the cement pelt poured over our feral skins

how to augur anything
but crooked miracles
anyway

Marie-Andrée Gill is Pekuakamishkueu and identifies primarily as a poet. Mother, friend, lover, student, her research and creative work concern transpersonal and decolonial love. Bridging kitsch and existentialism, her writing is rooted in territory and interiority, combining her Quebec and Ilnu identities. She is the author of three books from La Peuplade: Béante, Frayer, and Chauffer le dehors. In 2018 she was the winner of an Indigenous Voices Award. She lives in L’Anse-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

Kristen Renee Miller’s poems and translations appear in POETRY, The Kenyon Review, Guernica, The Offing, and Best New Poets 2018. A recipient of fellowships from The Kentucky Arts Council, Vermont Studio Center, Blackacre Conservancy, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, she lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she is the Managing Editor at Sarabande Books.