Cover Image: Heating the Outdoors

Heating the Outdoors

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Member Reviews

One of my favorite collections of 2023. A stellar and moving translation that is both personal and expansive. Gill creates a world with details to admire and space to wander.
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Heating the Outdoors by Marie-Andree Gill, translated by Kristen Renee Miller, is my first experience with Gill's poetry, and possibly my first experience with poetry in translation out of Canada (and I'm Canadian). Gill's poems made for interesting reads, and I really enjoyed sitting with the way she played with words (the translator did a great job of getting this across). I really enjoyed getting to read through this short collection, and I hope I get the chance to read more of her work in the future. Recommended!
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Short visceral punches of poetry. That’s what I like, that’s what moves me. Heating the Outdoors by Marie-Andree Gill does that in spades, opening the door to let the heat out in gusts. Exploring inner and outer landscapes and how the heart graphs on to the land, what we’re owed in relationships and by blood. An indigenous award-winning poet whose latest micropoems are entire shrunken worlds of emotion. What she can accomplish in so few words is just 👌🏽🙏🏽.
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It's Canlit blasphemy to say this, but I don't love Margaret Atwood. I do, however, think she wrote of the most perfect poem ever: 

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

I kept thinking of this poem while reading this bracing and concise collection of poems by Marie-Andrée Gill. Translated from their original French into English by Kristen Renee Miller, HEATING THE OUTDOORS is full of similarly surprising turns and edges. 

Some of these little blocks of tight and refined text are laugh out loud funny, others are a gut-punch. All of them feel rooted in place, searching for belonging, full of fire and heat. They are deeply intimate, and like so much great poetry, completely relatable.

I loved the description of the author's research and creative work as being focused "on the decolonial project of writing the intimate." That's exactly what this collection feels like. What a gritty gift to read it. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Book*hug Press for the ARC.
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3 out of 5 stars

This collection really started off strong but at about the halfway point, I started not liking the writing as much. What was in the first half though I really enjoyed. This collection had a nice mix of poetry lengths with micro, half-page, and a few full-page poems. There were only one or two that made me confused by the phrasing and what the author was trying to get across. I definitely would recommend this though, if you like poetry. It's under 100 pages so it's a quick read and isn't too literary but also not too Instagram prose. 

Disclaimer: I received a digital arc copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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[ARC provided by Book*hug Press through NetGalley - Enormous and unending thanks for allowing me to read this work before its publication]

Heating the Outdoors is a short poetry collection written by Marie-Andree Gill (originally in French; translated by Kristen Renee Miller) that considers love, the act of writing, and how each are forms of decolonial resilience.

I am absolutely in awe of this book of poems. They are intimate and gripping - short tales of an Indigenous Quebecoise woman's experiences of love and heartbreak, connections to the natural and the land, identity, and so much more.

I read it in the span of 30 minutes (re-reading beautiful little tidbits, back and forth) absolutely invigorated by the voice and structure, and pure writing skill.

It is truly a masterpiece.

I can't wait for more people to be talking more about this one - it deserves so much hype.
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"Heating the Outdoors" is the most recent collection of poems by Innu and Québécoise poet Marie-Andrée Gill. A graduate of the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, Marie-Andrée uses this collection to tell the story of a young female reflecting on a past relationship and the ongoing internal strife she faces trying to relinquish her flame for him and the happiness he brought to her life.
The narrator begins the story by detailing her complex relationship with love and the idea behind the term "love." She claims that time and time again she falls into this loop where she speaks words of "stale hope" into the ears of the lovers she holds dear and cherishes them like "a last drink of milk" just waiting to expire. To her, romance is a "scab torn off" and "regrown." Such a description of companionship lends it the frail yet promising quality of reincarnation. Furthermore, broken hearts must decide whether they will be hesitant or open to the loves that will come and go from their lives.
The narrator describes her past lover as a "clump of blackened spruce that lights [her] gasoline-soaked heart." With rhetoric like this, she shines light on her heart and its often tainted, forever-ignited state. In turn, her easily impressionable, receptive spirit perceives problematic signs as symbols of slight turbulence. The narrator compares this feeling of denial to running through a snow-laden forest without a coat and having snowy tree branches whip her across the face. Every step she takes deeper into the wilderness is garnished with hope and promise, and even though she faces the physical and emotional trauma of the obstacles right in front of her, she keeps running—hopefully and ignorantly so.
However, when her dreams begin to "lose their contours" and heartbreak begins to set like the dusk sun, her lamp and her soul’s impulse to survive pray "for a daybreak" to crack "between the lines" of a story that has long had its cover locked shut. This pattern of emotional negligence sets her heart at a value comparable to that of a measly "good bowl of macaroni and sausages." These "pleated feelings" she tries desperately to "smooth out" never really disappear. Every article of clothing he once wore, every piece of household décor he once treasured, and every photograph of his smile bring back her dread in paralyzing waves. Nevertheless, it is hope that allows her to push through. The emotional wounds to which she plays doctor are "multicolored bruises" that she is now finally beginning to treasure. She begins to make an ally of the word "slowly" and begins to find peace in the conquest that lies at the end of the journey of gradual self-exploration.
And while there are times where she "[dreams] up all of the ways [she] might slip around [his] neck" and "wake up in [his] hands," she knows that these fantasies must go nowhere, as she is no longer a wild, lustful child banking on codependence to lead her to internal salvation. She instead allows the beauty of nature and the truth in self-reflection to "let time tune its instrument accordingly."
Overall, this collection of poems is a powerful, refreshingly honest ode to womanhood, love, loss, and introspection. There is a level of vulnerability in each line and a level of honesty within each stanza that readers interested in coming-of-age literature should, without a shadow of a doubt, enjoy.
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Heating the Outdoors 
By Marie-Andree Gill
Book*hug Press
Publication date: 1/7/23


These short poems, translated from French by Kristen Renee Miller, are unique in their brilliance, a juxtaposition of internal pain and longing with external beauty and brutality.

The poems express feelings of disappointment and awkwardness when breaking up with a lover, yearning for something more, while using imagery and metaphor to deepen our experience. Love and longing are not rational or logical, but we can’t simply help ourselves, we hope.

The author is an environmental and indigenous rights activist from the Ilnu indigenous community in Quebec, Canada. It is clear that her love and respect for land informs her writing. Truly awe-inspiring work.

Thanks to NetGalley, Book*hug Press and Marie-Andree Gill for the opportunity to read and review this work.
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I’ve read other books by Marie-Andrée Gill and I absolutely loved them! Heating the Outdoors was no different, such a fantastic book!! Highly recommend.
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I enjoyed this poetry collection a lot as I hadn't read many like it before so it felt fresh and new. I liked how they all made me feel and how they made me think and I love the author's way of writing.
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I loved the italicized poems that were shown about once per chapter, and many of the poems in the last chapter. The author is great with metaphor, and the descriptions are very unique! However, there were many of the shorter poems where I couldn’t understand the unique metaphors and descriptive words. I would love to read some more of this author’s longer poems!
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I LOVE LOVE LOVE, I'm humungous on poetry and I was not disappointed. I'd buy this book any day. I'm in LOVE.
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