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I am a Body of Land by Shannon Webb-Campbell

Finalist for The A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry in 2019


If poetry is a place to question, I Am a Body of Land by Shannon Webb-Campbell is an attempt to explore a relationship to poetic responsibility and accountability, and frame poetry as a form of re-visioning.

Here Webb-Campbell revisits the text of her earlier work Who Took My Sister? to examine her self, her place and her own poetic strategies. These poems are efforts to decolonize, unlearn, and undo harm.

Reconsidering individual poems and letters, Webb-Campbell’s confessional writing circles back, and challenges what it means to ask questions of her own settler-Indigenous identity, belonging, and attempts to cry out for community, and call in with love.


Their World View Is a
New Home in an Ancient Land

if you think you can hold dominion over flora and fauna,
that a body and life can be property,
you’d better try buying a constellation.

I am not landless, nor law.
in sorrow’s aftermath remind me –
I am a body of land unlearning
What cannot be expressed.
Dig to find a physical knowing, ceremony.

Our cells remind us, we are living
in the intersection of trauma and desire
–a disordered state.

How can we imagine ourselves not broken?
Set vowels and variables.
Open to seven generations before and after.

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