In her third collection of poetry, Holy Wild, Gwen Benaway explores the complexities of being an Indigenous trans woman in expansive lyric poems. She holds up the Indigenous trans body as a site of struggle, liberation, and beauty. A confessional poet, Benaway narrates her sexual and romantic intimacies with partners as well as her work to navigate the daily burden of transphobia and violence. She examines the intersections of Indigenous and trans experience through autobiographical poems and continues to speak to the legacy of abuse, violence, and colonial erasure that defines Canada. Her sparse lines, interwoven with English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), illustrate the wonder and power of Indigenous trans womanhood in motion. Holy Wild is not an easy book, as Benaway refuses to give any simple answers, but it is a profoundly vibrant and beautiful work filled with a transcendent grace.
Praise for Holy Wild:
"This is a heart wrenching, thought provoking, honest, and graceful walkthrough of trans realities both on the homeland and in urban settings." —Joshua Whitehead, author of Full-Metal Indigiqueer and Johnny Appleseed
"As the poet says, 'they want one thing and I am many.' This book is many things, and we are grateful." —Katherena Vermette, author of the award-winning novel The Break
"Benaway conjures trans life in a place that is both prior to and in excess of the violence that mires it. It is the emotional infrastructure for something like freedom. Let Benaway lead you there." —Billy-Ray Belcourt, author of the Griffin Poetry Prize-Winning collection This Wound is a World