In her second collection of poetry, Passage, Gwen Benaway examines what it means to experience violence and speaks to the burden of survival. Traveling to Northern Ontario and across the Great Lakes, Passage is a poetic voyage through divorce, family violence, legacy of colonization, and the affirmation of a new sexuality and gender. Previously published as a man, Passage is the poet's first collection written as a transwoman. Striking and raw in sparse lines, the collection showcases a vital Two Spirited identity that transects borders of race, gender, and experience. In Passage, the poet seeks to reconcile herself to the land, the history of her ancestors, and her separation from her partner and family by invoking the beauty and power of her ancestral waterways. Building on the legacy of other ground-breaking Indigenous poets like Gregory Scofield and Queer poets like Tim Dlugos, Benaway's work is deeply personal and devastating in sharp, clear lines. Passage is a book burning with a beautiful intensity and reveals Benaway as one of the most powerful emerging poets writing in Indigenous poetics today.
About the author
Gwen Benaway is a trans girl of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has published three collections of poetry—Ceremonies for the Dead, Passage, and Holy Wild, winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry. It was also a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry, and the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature, and was longlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She is the editor of an anthology of fantasy short stories titled Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. She has been a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Writers from the Writers' Trust of Canada, and her personal essay, "A Body Like A Home," was the Gold Prize Winner for the National Magazine Awards in Personal Journalism. She is also currently editing a book of creative nonfiction, trans girl in love. day/break is her fourth book of poetry. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, and is a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto in the Women and Gender Studies Institute.
- Winner, Speaker's Award for a Young Author