Congratulations to Marie “Annharte” Baker, winner of the inaugural Blue Metropolis First Peoples Literary Prize!
The Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival (April 20 – 26 in Montreal) is honouring Annharte for Indigena Awry, her 2012 poetry collection. Congratulations also to the other literary winners at this year’s festival: Nancy Huston (Grand Prize), Junot Díaz (Azul Prize), and Gene Luen Yang (Words to Change Prize).
Annharte will be appearing at a half-dozen readings and events, including Poetry at the Zen Centre on April 24th, with Marie Howe, Don McKay, Jeramy Dodds, Paul Weigel, and Carmine Starnino; an awards ceremony on April 25th, when she’ll receive her $5,000 prize and be interviewed on stage by Taiaiake Alfred; and, on April 26, a discussion with Lee Maracle (Celia’s Song) about indigenous women and territory in their books.
You can find details about all her events here.
Blue Met sent Annharte to the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias this past January as part of the Open Window on Canada program, which also featured Steven Pinker, Réal Godbout, and Kim Thúy (winner of Canada Reads 2015). She participated in a poetry reading and a panel discussion on indigenous cultures and creative language with authors from Colombia and Spain.
Indigena Awry was recently reviewed in Canadian Literature, where Lorraine Weir said it is “darker and tougher than [Annharte’s previous books], saturated with rejection of ‘honest Injun’ clichés and of ageist and sexist stereotypes from settler culture.”
If the poems of Indigena Awry constitute the writer’s act of both witnessing the sustained impact of colonization, particularly on urban Indigenous women, and repudiating its effects, they are also characterized by a ferocious hope in the future… In this tough-minded, sometimes funny, and frequently eloquent book, five centuries have distilled rage into incandescence. … Annharte’s work ranges from dub to lyric, from spoken word to elegy, from colloquial humour to jagged irony in which the ’experimental’ is never separate from a passionate rejection of white bourgeois aesthetics. In this, Annharte is closer to Skeena Reece and Rebecca Belmore in her crafting of an “enemy language” to do the work of resurgence.