Billy-Ray Belcourt: ‘Poetry is about pursuing freedom and admiring beauty’


His style is a poetry of radical empathy: amplifying queer, indigenous and minority experiences. Author Billy-Ray Belcourt sat down with us at the Festival America to talk about subverting artistic categories and moving away from the old-fashioned traditions that have dominated Canadian literature. As the first Canadian First Nations student to receive a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, we discuss the paradoxical nature of that experience, as he used the academic opportunity to highlight the role of indigenous women in social and political struggles. After the 2017 poetry collection, “This Wound is a World”, Belcourt tells us about the personal elements that have found their way into his latest book, “A Minor Chorus”.

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