Ceremonies for the Dead is an award-winning collection of poems that examine the haunting themes of inter-generational trauma, cyclical abuse, and inherited grief. Four generations of the dead take turns narrating these themes, navigating from the Great Lakes through the Appalachian Mountains, and examining the fur trade, an exile from Minnesota, the experiences of West Virginia coal miners, and the legacy of mission schools. Black humour and satire fill the collection, illuminating a fierce determination to survive and resist colonization and the endurance of culture and identity under extreme duress.
"Ceremonies for the Dead is such a rare find. I have mulled over the manuscript for the past few weeks, hunting for a single extraordinary line, an image that stops you dead in your tracks, with its song, its beauty and its visceral truth that I could cite in this blurb. I combed the manuscript a half dozen times and gave up as I realized that every line, every stanza is a beautiful song containing visceral truth that stopped me dead in my tracks. More than that, each line compelled me to read the next line and excited me with its revelation, its depth, its courage and its beauty.Every poem is a prayer. Every line sings like an open road heading straight for the heart. Ceremonies danced me through my very soul and I fell into my own ancestors as I read. It feels like I have been looking for these poems since all my life..." - Lee Maracle, Award-winning Poet, Novelist and Performance Storyteller"The rituals of the living, the words and the bodies of the living and the dead, come together in these heart-rending poems by Giles Benaway. The struggle to make peace and beauty within lives designated 'okay to hate' by North American statesman, rises nightmarishly and moves through specificity and ends, very gently, with a lullaby." - Joanne Arnott (Steepy Mountain love poetry, Wiles of Girlhood)