You Might Be Sorry You Read This is a stunning debut, revealing how breaking silences and reconciling identity can refine anger into something both useful and beautiful. A poetic memoir that looks unflinchingly at childhood trauma (both incestuous rape and surviving exposure in extreme cold), it also tells the story of coming to terms with a hidden Indigenous identity when the poet discovered her Métis heritage at age 38. This collection is a journey of pain, belonging, hope, and resilience. The confessional poems are polished yet unpretentious, often edgy but humorous; they explore trauma yet prioritize the poet’s story. Honouring the complexities of Indigenous identity and the raw experiences of womanhood, mental illness, and queer selfhood, these narratives carry weight. They tell us “You need / only be the simple / expression of the divine / intent / that is your life.” There is a lifetime in these poems.
About the author
Michelle Poirier Brown is an internationally published poet and performer, currently living in Lekwungen territory (Victoria, BC). She is nêhiyaw-iskwêw and a citizen of the Métis Nation. Her poem “Wake” won PRISM international’s Earle Birney Prize in 2019. The song cycle, "The Length of a Day” (Jeffrey Ryan, composer), premiered in 2021. Her work has appeared in Arc, CV2, The Greensboro Review, Grain, Emrys Journal, Vallum, and several anthologies. A feminist activist, Michelle won a landmark human rights case establishing reasonable accommodation in the workplace for breastfeeding women. Retired from careers as a speech writer, conflict analyst, and federal treaty negotiator, she now writes full-time, enjoys the produce of her permaculture garden, and has taken up birdwatching.
Honouring the complexities of Indigenous identity and the raw experiences of womanhood, mental illness, and queer selfhood, the poems in Michelle Poirier Brown’s You Might Be Sorry You Read This reveal how breaking silences and reconciling identity can refine anger into something both useful and beautiful.
49th Shelf, February 28, 2022