The Place of Scraps

September 15, 2013|
The Place of Scraps by Jordan Abel
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George Ryga Award for Social Award: Jordan Abel, The Place of Scraps (Finalist)
BC Book Prize, Poetry: Jordan Abel, The Place of Scraps (Winner)

The Place of Scraps revolves around Marius Barbeau, an early-twentieth-century ethnographer, who studied many of the First Nations cultures in the Pacific Northwest, including Jordan Abel’s ancestral Nisga’a Nation. Barbeau, in keeping with the popular thinking of the time, believed First Nations cultures were about to disappear completely, and that it was up to him to preserve what was left of these dying cultures while he could. Unfortunately, his methods of preserving First Nations cultures included purchasing totem poles and potlatch items from struggling communities in order to sell them to museums. While Barbeau strove to protect First Nations cultures from vanishing, he ended up playing an active role in dismantling the very same cultures he tried to save.

Drawing inspiration from Barbeau’s canonical book Totem Poles, Jordan Abel explores the complicated relationship between First Nations cultures and ethnography. His poems simultaneously illuminate Barbeau’s intentions and navigate the repercussions of the anthropologist’s actions.

Through the use of erasure techniques, Abel carves out new understandings of Barbeau’s writing – each layer reveals a fresh perspective, each word takes on a different connotation, each letter plays a different role, and each punctuation mark rises to the surface in an unexpected way. As Abel writes his way ever deeper into Barbeau’s words, he begins to understand that he is much more connected to Barbeau than he originally suspected.

Jordan Abel is a Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. His debut poetry collection, The Place of Scraps (Talonbooks, 2013), was awarded the BC Book Prizes’ Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Abel was an editor for Poetry Is Dead magazine and the former poetry editor for PRISM ...
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Title:The Place of Scraps
Format:Paperback
Product dimensions:288 pages, 9 X 6.75 X 0.75 in
Shipping dimensions:288 pages, 9 X 6.75 X 0.75 in
Published:September 15, 2013
Publisher:Talonbooks
Language:English
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9780889227880

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