Belated Bris of the Brainsick traces 1) a belated and in some ways violent revelation about one’s ancestry and one’s past, 2) a resultant mental breakdown and 3) the pursuit of a new life with someone else who lives with mental illness. These events and the styles in which they are told are inflected by queer, transgender and disabled perspectives and aesthetics. If there is a narrative arc to the collection, it is not the usual one of falling ill and then regaining health; rather, it is the pursuit of a “queered” version of health.
“Crawford’s third collection of poetry is awe-inspiring. Each poem is genuinely jaw-dropping and unique, but if there is a running theme it is that of identity. Mental illness, trans* life, religion, politics; Crawford handles them all with aplomb. Born in Halifax, raised in rural Nova Scotia and currently an associate professor at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, Crawford’s work could not be more relevant or necessary than it is now. An instant classic.”