Motherhood, trauma, and familial history are woven together into a powerful collection from the award-winning author of What Became My Grieving Ceremony.
Beginning with a revelation of familial sexual abuse, Building a Nest from the Bones of My People charts the impact of this revelation on the speaker. From the pain of estrangement to navigating first-time motherhood in the midst of a family crisis, Morgan explores the complexities of generational and secondary abuse, intertwined as they are with the impacts of colonization.
Cara-Lyn Morgan comes from both Indigenous (Métis) and Immigrant (Trinidadian) roots in the place known as Turtle Island and Canada. She was born in Oskana, known now as Regina, Saskatchewan, and lives, works, and gardens, in the traditional territories of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, and Mississaugas of the Credit peoples. Her debut collection of poetry, What Became My Grieving Ceremony, won the 2015 Fred Cogswell Award for Poetic Excellence. Her second collection, Cartograph, explores healing, cultural duality, and colonization.
Advanced praise for Building a Nest from the Bones of my People
“Cara-Lyn Morgan offers not only loss, grief, and anger in this powerful collection, but also resolve, resistance, and reckoning—with the past, with what we bequeath our children, and the intentionality of those decisions. A brilliant and resonant meditation on becoming a mother and what it takes to build a new nest from the salvage of what’s been given to us. ‘Burn the sage. / we’re done.'”—Lisa Bird-Wilson, author of Probably Ruby
“With her new collection, Cara-Lyn Morgan, demonstrates the lyrical alchemy of transforming ancestral pain into poetic gold through the unflinching art of truth-telling. These poems are raw as nerve endings, encapsulating wisdom enduring as teeth and bones. They are tender, well-crafted, and fearless—reminding us how speaking out into stifling silence can create muscle strong enough to move a woman from fearful mourning to courageous motherhood.Through Building a Nest from the Bones of My People, the pain of the past is excavated like an aching, crooked bone—rebroken to set the future on firm footing. Smoldering embers of generational trauma are doused, ghosts are set to rest and the seeds of hope begin to blossom. We can all heal. With this hauntingly beautiful collection, Morgan shows us how.”—Andrea Thompson, author of A Selected History of Soul Speak
Praise for Cara-Lyn Morgan:
“What Became My Grieving Ceremony draws us into a sprawling family, and we rub shoulders with Fr. Ed; Patrick, the daemonic uncle; Margrette Monkman; Leotha and with the author herself as she conducts her personal and familial archeology, locating the self in its web of relations. Morgan is also on a linguistic search for a lost Michif, that unique Western Canadian tongue, born of the union of two races. Following her, I was led to the wakes, the barns and various kitchens of her people, where I found myself both a stranger yet also home.”—Tim Lilburn, author of Kill-site and Tourist To Ecstasy
“Elegant and empathic, this fine book plumbs not only grief, but takes us through its rites: the anticipation of loss and its initial sting; the shouldering of a despair so vivid it hurts to succumb to memory’s unheralded quietude. Drawing from her Métis and Trinidadian heritage, Morgan counterpoints the unassuaged suffering of her people with her family’s, experiencing them as only one alert person can. Open yourself to these poems, become their host, and live their affirmative message as your own.”—John Barton, author of Sweet Ellipsis and West of Darkness: Emily Carr, a Self-Portrait