Our National Poetry Month Celebration continues with Shannon Webb-Campbell, author of I am a Body of Land.
If poetry is a place to question, I Am a Body of Land is an attempt to explore a relationship to poetic responsibility and accountability, and frame poetry as a form of re-visioning. Shortlisted in 2019 for the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, the jury citation states, “Shannon Webb-Campbell searches, and talks to us about her search through her poems. Full of feelings, hardship and some joy. This engaging collection of poems is sometimes dark and sometimes gives us hope but not without reminders that we need to work for it.”
Today, we’re pleased to share the poem “Their World View is a New Home in an Ancient Land.” Listen to the audio recording to hear Shannon read the poem, and follow along with the text below.
Their World View Is a
New Home in an Ancient Land
if you think you can hold dominion over flora and fauna,
that a body and life can be property,
you’d better try buying a constellation.
I am not landless, nor law.
in sorrow’s aftermath remind me—
I am a body of land unlearning
what cannot be expressed.
Dig to find a physical knowing, ceremony.
Our cells remind us, we are living
in the intersection of trauma and desire
—a disordered state.
How can we imagine ourselves not broken?
Set vowels and variables.
Open to seven generations before and after.
Shannon Webb-Campbell is a mixed-Indigenous (Mi’kmaq) settler poet, writer, and critic currently based in Montreal. Her first book, Still No Word (2015) was the inaugural recipient of Egale Canada’s Out In Print Award. She was Canadian Women in the Literary Arts Critic-in-Residence in 2014, and sits on Canadian Women in the Literary Arts board of directors. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, journals and publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, Geist Magazine, The Malahat Review, Canadian Literature, Room, and Quill and Quire. In 2017 she facilitated a book club-style reading of The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada at Atwater Library in Montreal; she also championed Carol Daniel’s novel Bearskin Diary for CBC Montreal’s Turtle Island Reads. I Am a Body of Land is her latest book. Her next book, Lunar Tides, is forthcoming from Book*hug in 2022.