Listed in The Boston Globe's Best Poetry Books of 2022
Longlisted for the PEN/Voelcker Award in Poetry
“She/I cast a thick,
time out of mind,
out of sync, off course.”
American Book Award–winning poet dg okpik’s second collection of poems, Blood Snow, tells a continuum story of a homeland under erasure, in an ethos of erosion, in a multitude of encroaching methane, ice floe, and rising temperatures. Here, in a true Inupiaq voice, okpik’s relationship to language is an access point for understanding larger kinships between animals, peoples, traditions, histories, ancestries, and identities. Through an animist process of transfiguration into a shaman’s omniscient voice, we are greeted with a destabilizing grammar of selfhood. Okpik’s poems have a fraught relationship to her former home in Anchorage, Alaska, a place of unparalleled natural beauty and a traumatic site of devastation for Alaskan native nations and landscapes alike. In this way, okpik’s poetry speaks to the dualistic nature of reality and how one’s existence in the world simultaneously shapes and is shaped by its environs.
Most of the poems in this collection are anchored by the immediate concerns of an arctic that is slowly dematerializing in an era of “melting / igloos & ice caves, rising butter clams clamped / shut rotten & rancid.” For okpik, subject and environs, exterior and interior are inseparable.
Diego Báez, Harriet Books
dg nanouk okpik’s poetry is transformative. The collection as a whole is, on one level, preoccupied with the threats to Indigenous ways of life caused by industrialization and climate change. In its inspection of these dynamics, okpik’s collection dredges up histories that require reckoning with.
As a whole, Blood Snow exists as a document of witness, a love letter and a declaration of belonging, and an argument for both ecological and cultural preservation, simply through the evocative descriptions and language the flow of her lyric, the waves of her words, provide against such book-length shoreline.
dg nanouk okpik was born in and spent much of her life in Anchorage, Alaska. She attended Salish Kootenai College, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. okpik has won the Truman Capote Literary Trust Award, the May Sarton Award, and an American Book Award for her first book, Corpse Whale. Her second book is Blood Snow (Wave Books, 2023).
Publication: October 2022
ISBN# 9781950268634 (7x9 80pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781950268641 (7x9 80pp, limited edition hardcover)