Undoing Hours by Selina Boan wins an Indigenous Voices Award
Recipients of the fifth annual Indigenous Voices Awards have been announced, and Selina Boan has won the published poetry in English category for her book, Undoing Hours (Nightwood Editions).
From the jurors: “A remarkable debut that thinks through ideas of home and belonging and language. These are pieces that linger on memory and image.”
Also nominated in this category: Tenille K. Campbell (English River First Nation) for nedí nezų (Good Medicine) (Arsenal Pulp Press); Dallas Hunt (Wapsewsipi, Swan River First Nation) for Creeland (Nightwood); and Diana Hope Tegenkamp (Métis) for Girl running (Thistledown Press).
Undoing Hours tells stories of meeting family, of experiencing love and heartbreak, and of learning new ways to express and understand the world around her through nêhiyawêwin.
As a settler and urban nehiyaw who grew up disconnected from her father’s family and community, Boan turns to language as one way to challenge the impact of assimilation policies and colonization on her own being and the landscapes she inhabits. Exploring the nexus of language and power, the effects of which are both far-reaching and deeply intimate, these poems consider the ways language impacts the way we view and construct the world around us. Boan also explores what it means to be a white settler–nehiyaw woman actively building community and working to ground herself through language and relationships. Boan writes from a place of linguistic tension, tenderness and care, creating space to ask questions and to imagine intimate decolonial futures.
Selina Boan is a white settler–nehiyaw poet living on the traditional, unceded territories of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples. Her work has been published widely, including in The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 and 2020. She has received several honours for her work, including Room’s 2018 Emerging Writer Award and the 2017 National Magazine Award for Poetry. She is currently a poetry editor for Rahila’s Ghost Press and is a member of the Growing Room Collective.
The Indigenous Voices Awards aim to support Indigenous literary production in its diversity and complexity. The awards honour the sovereignty of Indigenous creative voices and reject cultural appropriation; to be eligible for the Indigenous Voices Awards, authors must be Indigenous and must make a declaration of Indigenous identity. The awards are intended to support Indigenous artistic communities and to resist the individualism of prize culture. As such, the IVA Board will endeavour to create opportunities for mentorship, professionalization, and creative collaboration among applicants, jurors, and other members of the Indigenous artistic community when possible.