Leanne Betasamosake Simpson with Natalie Diaz
A Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, scholar, teacher, and multi-faceted artist who has been writing books of intellectual scholarship and books of stories that at once break new ground and draw on particular Indigenous practices, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson makes this virtual reading appearance on the occasion of her stunning first novel, Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies (University of Minnesota Press). She will be joined in conversation by award-winning poet Natalie Diaz.
A narrator who lies embedded in the ice of a northern lake tells this story featuring an old woman, an old man, a giant, a caribou, a maple tree, and two younger humans - all rendered in ungendered pronouns - all to profound effect. “Noopiming is a novel that is as philosophically generative as it is stylistically original ... Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s expansive work explores the indivisibility of beings — old woman, old man, tree, caribou, stone, ice, spirit, geese, the brain and more, all watching, grieving, thinking, acting, and listening amidst the ongoing and quotidian urgencies of capital. They are sleepless, ceaseless, trying to alter and to recode the world of consumerism, and their survival means that they must daily and collectively reconstruct existence in the city and its coterminous forests. Noopiming is far ahead of us in so many registers of story, language, and worldview; its cumulative effect is a new cosmography.”— Dionne Brand.
“Noopiming is a rare parcel of beauty and power, at once a creator and destroyer of forms. All of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s myriad literary gifts shine here – her scalpel-sharp humor, her eye for the smallest human details, the prodigious scope of her imaginative and poetic generosity. The result is a book at once fierce, uproarious, heartbreaking, and, throughout and above all else, rooted in love.”— Omar El Akkad.
“Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Noopiming once again confirms her position as a brilliant, daring experimentalist and a beautiful, radical portraitist of contemporary NDN life. The prose hums with a lovingness that moved me to tears, and with a humour that felt plucked right out of my rez adolescence. The chorus of thinkers, dreamers, revolutionaries, poets, and misfits that Simpson conjures here feels like a miracle. My heart ached and swelled for all of them. What I adored most about this book is that it has so little to do with the white gaze. Simpson writes for us, for NDNs, those made to make other kinds of beauty, to build other kinds of beautiful lives, where no one is looking. Noopiming is a book from the future! Simpson is our much-needed historian of the future!”— Billy-Ray Belcourt.
There is much more to be said of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and her work, which not only includes such books as As We Have Always Done: Indigenous through Radical Resistance, Islands of Decolonial Love, This Accident of Being Lost, the also-new A Short History of the Blockade, but a number of other books where she has helped edit, present, and support the work and knowledge of others.
Natalie Diaz is a Gila River Mojave poet and teacher, the author of the poetry collections My Brother Was an Aztec and 2020’s Postcolonial Love Poem, which was a National Book Award finalist. An opportunity to see her with her own work in full will be with Seattle Arts & Lectures on April 30.