Award-winning Nishnaabeg writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s collection of writings This Accident of Being Lost is a provocative and relevant adventure of poetry, song and prose. A journey in getting lost, in all kinds of ways, Simpson’s work is incredibly economical, with each word seemingly measured and weighed with great care, producing just the right balance of sarcasm and the sacred: The humor, wonder and romance the characters experience in Akiden Boreal is so textured, it makes the senses writhe in longing; Minomiinikeshi in the poignant piece minomiinikeshi sings, is the dancing, windy spirit of wild rice, and then the impatient, death metal-listening car passenger in Unsubstantiated Health Benefits. Simpson moves through a day-to-day decolonizing reality with ease, often veering into the comedic, navel-gazing tendencies of today’s Internet addiction. At times the works turn at a smooth, dreamy pace, like being on a Ferris wheel, then suddenly grind to a halt with you at the very top, swinging in your seat, as Simpson lays a line down that grabs at you like a sharp wind: It matters if you are born with a target on your back or not; Our kids won’t be Mississauga if they can’t ever do a single Mississauga thing; Like golf courses and dream catchers and selling out are all we have left. The stories range from haunting and intimate to sarcastic and accessible as NDN maneuvers the landmines of settler colonialism as in the brilliant and pointed Tidy Bun and Plight. Simpson deftly moves through and combines Nishnaabeg stories, the realities of indigeneity, and fantastical spaces, and her successful career as a FN scholar, writer and musician are evidenced here is this exceptionally affecting work.
Cover art by Rebecca Belmore