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Monday, November 13, 2023

The Voice Of The River by Shandra Spears Bombay (60s Scoop Adoptee)

2023 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

A woman with long dark hair and wearing black clothes while standing in a corridor with dark walls
Shandra Spears Bombay is an Anishinaabe writer from Rainy River First Nations/Manitou Rapids, Ont. (Submitted by Shandra Spears Bombay)

Shandra Spears Bombay has made the 2023 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for The Voice Of The River.

The shortlist will be announced on Nov. 16 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 23.

About Shandra Spears Bombay 

Shandra Spears Bombay has shared her writing in anthologies including Strong Women Stories, Indigenous Women: The State of Our Nations and the Four Winds Literary Magazine. She was also part of a special adoptee anthology called Outsiders Within. Shandra has been working for an extremely long time on a one-woman show about the Sixties Scoop, and has exhausted the patience of herself and everyone around her (but it's going to be great). Shandra is Anishinaabe and a member of Rainy River First Nations/Manitou Rapids, doing her best to move from Toronto to the rez with a pandemic in the way.

Entry in five-ish words

"Jagged tumbling over the rocks."

The poems' source of inspiration

"This is a very important moment for me culturally and as a Sixties Scoop survivor, second- and third-generation Indian Residential School survivor, as I return to the community and work through all the things I don't know or understand about rez life. As the poem tumbles around and back, it expresses the tumbling of my life in my new context and the one constant which is the voice of the river."

First lines

boozhoo ndinawe maaganok 
says the voice of the river 
that flashes over the rocks
the rapids that flash with sturgeon jumping

one lone goose family
sheltering in the maple trees 
the water too high for us to reach
to tap this year
and pelicans perching on the rocks
looking for fishes to eat and feed to their babies
migizi sits nearby waiting for lunch

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