Heating the Outdoors
by Marie-Andrée Gill
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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 08 Mar 2023
You're the clump of blackened spruce
that lights my gasoline-soaked heart
It's just impossible you won't be back
to quench yourself in my crème-soda
Irreverent and transcendent, lyrical and slang, Heating the Outdoors is an endlessly surprising new work from award-winning poet Marie-Andrée Gill.
In these micropoems, writing and love are acts of decolonial resilience. Rooted in Nitassinan, the territory and ancestral home of the Ilnu Nation, they echo the Ilnu oral tradition in Gill's interrogation and reclamation of the language, land, and interpersonal intimacies distorted by imperialism. They navigate her interior landscape—of heartbreak, humor, and, ultimately, unrelenting light—amidst the boreal geography.
Heating the Outdoors describes the yearnings for love, the domestic monotony of post-breakup malaise, and the awkward meeting of exes. As the lines between interior and exterior begin to blur, Gill's poems, here translated by Kristen Renee Miller, become a record of the daily rituals and ancient landscapes that inform her identity not only as a lover, then ex, but also as an Ilnu and Québécoise woman.
“Marie-Andrée Gill’s Heating the Outdoors is a stunning collection exploring heartbreak, and the awkward dance between exes from the positionality of an Illnu and Quebecoise woman whose poetic ‘gasoline-soaked heart’ yearns deeply for love. Translated by Kristen Renee Miller from French into English, Gill’s Heating the Outdoors re-wilds the ritualistic humdrum of domestic life while honouring the land and her ‘crème-soda ancestral spirit.'” —Shannon Webb-Campbell, author of Lunar Tides and I Am a Body of Land
“These poems live in a bachelor apartment over the corner store. They’re on the bus looking out at the muddy hangtime between winter and spring, in a too-warm jacket. These poems will make you a cup of tar-coffee and tell you about the ache of desire in the language of crunching snow. You’ll come back to them over and over again to listen.” —Carleigh Baker, author of Bad Endings
“Marie-Andrée Gill’s spare, luminous micropoems are endlessly surprising, twisting out, into, and unto themselves like complicated lovers. Defiantly fragmentary, these are stunning shards of tongues, embodied vernaculars slowly, steadily unsettling grammars. Kristen Renee Miller’s translations retain the elegance and shimmer of the originals while wondrously conveying their knottedness, their syntax of skin. When at last we reach Nitassinan, we are reminded of the world’s poetry documents, but also of the worlds it creates. This is poetry that claims the power to “gnaw the meat off each day and spit out the pin bones” through a language as unresolved as our decolonial dreams and as necessary as our sovereign desires.” —Urayoán Noel, author of Transversal