English Raintree Essay

English Raintree Essay-67
I wanted to tiptoe into the mise-en-scene of a novel, to let what I might witness illuminate a way of writing, a listening and looking practice, that I had only known as the felt suspicion of something more radical, more energetic and enlivening, unrulier and more complicated than “Language Arts.” With I found all of this.

I wanted to tiptoe into the mise-en-scene of a novel, to let what I might witness illuminate a way of writing, a listening and looking practice, that I had only known as the felt suspicion of something more radical, more energetic and enlivening, unrulier and more complicated than “Language Arts.” With I found all of this.I found a book that was more than a book; Mosionier’s story of the lives of two Indigenous girls who enact care against the racialized embargo on care that is Canada, who care for one another in contradistinction to the cruel “care” of the state, of social services, was and is a searing indictment of Canada.

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Hurled with the right amount of intensity, words floor us.

There are words that lay me flat on the floor of the world.

The meta-claim that is underneath this line of inquiry is what we might call “racial fatalism”: in other words, it is as if Indigenous peoples were so bogged down by history, by bodies that emerge from that history, that we can only write in a way that is “plain,” that is “sparse,” that is “simple.” It’s a liberal interpretative strategy that seeks to empower a “humanity narrative” that is in fact a trapdoor, worthless in the fight against the cannibalistic genre of the human inaugurated in the laboratories of the New World.

It is not that we need to be welcomed into the wasteland of the human, to be made fit for the operations of violence that uphold it, but a remaking of the world, one not ruled by Man, one that flowers freedom for those denied it as a symptom of the many-headed hydra that is white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy.

Mosionier took the work of description into her own hands and because of this she refused to offer up a rhetoric that one might describe as simple.

That is, Mosionier wrote in the mode of “truth-telling” to paint a picture of complicated and compromised living in the crosshairs of settler governance.The piece quotes a review of Mosionier’s : “[Mosionier] sets out to tell a story—her own story—in the plainest available language.Nothing else is needed.” This interpretive behavior is everything in literary history.Recently, a collection I wrote was reviewed under the headline, “Billy-Ray Belcourt’s Simple and Radical Poetry.” The title alone steals breath from the bodies of those who are roped into the unlivable and racialized terrain of simplicity.The headline was later modified, “simple” axed, after writers like Gwen Benaway wrote incisive threads on Twitter critiquing it.We might conceptualize colonialism as in part a system of clarity in the visual sense, as a structural and structuring articulation of Indigenous life so as to refuse it the promise of freedom, to refuse us a world-making kinship that was in opposition to the world-engulfing effects of racial capitalism.We were and still are made to exist in a visual field in which we are barred from democratizing the felt knowledge of our dignity., Audra Simpson traces the discursive and political beginnings of “the savage” to the earliest moments of contact at which settlers did the terrible and terror-making work of classification so as to acclimatize the Indigenous to an atmosphere of ideas they had transported with them from Europe.Indeed, it was recently revealed that a chunk of Campbell’s book was edited out because it detailed sexual abuse at the hands of members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an avowal that would have surely thrown into relief the chronic problem of police brutality against Indigenous women.This time, Million tells us, produced “a profound literature of experience.” Still, those who look and install meaning into words with the force of a history of impoverished reading negate the profundity of our writing.Simplicity hides a flurry of forms of social and political violence that rip the lives of those from the badlands of modernity from the freedom of a simple life, from a life emptied of historically contingent tumult.Simplicity belongs only to those who live and write unfettered by all of that which ravages the worlds.


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