April 2, 2024
140 PAGES | ISBN 978-1-989496-87-9
In this arresting debut collection Ellen Chang-Richardson writes of race, of injury and of belonging in stunning poems that fade in and out of the page. History swirls through this collection like a summer storm, as they bring their father’s, and their own, stories to light, writing against the background of the institutional racism of Canada, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the head tax and more. From Taiwan in the early 1990s to Oakville in the late 1990s, Toronto in the 2010s, Cambodia in the mid-1970s and Ottawa in the 2020s, Blood Belies takes the reader through time, asking them what it means to look the way we do? To carry scars? To persevere? To hope?
“I have never read a poetry collection that is grounded in landscape as distinctly as Blood Belies, Ellen Chang-Richardson’s incisive, frank and gorgeous book. These poems probe at all the landscapes that haunt us – the landscapes of emotion, of trauma, of spaces external and internal – and do so with a precise voice that is sometimes quiet and sometimes roaring to be heard. I am in awe of Ellen’s talent and the small, poetic droplets of truth that have coalesced into this revelation of a book.” – Jen Sookfong Lee, author of Superfan and The Shadow List
“Blood Belies is a remarkable collection that explores proximity and the inevitable spaces found within and between histories, lands, truth and ourselves. Thrilling in its fragmentary style, Blood Belies grapples with race, identity and family as the poet seeks out a new lexicon amidst the Canadian snowdrifts and archives. With every ‘like:,’ ‘like:,’ ‘like:,’ Ellen Chang-Richardson folds the reader closer and closer into a world where ‘memory, / has a way / of skewing,’ where stories are told, untold, retold; where poetry is a language for survival. Chang-Richardson’s voice is at once intimate, perceptive and unforgettable.” – Gillian Sze, author of Quiet Night Think
“Blood Belies explores fraught counterpoints between surface and depth, exposing enduring histories of racism and environmental neglect. In a fluid carousel of text, disruption, white space, image and narrative, Chang-Richardson’s urgent, inventive structures react to and subvert received hypocrisy, where each fugitive subtext weaves fracture into art.” – David O’Meara, author of Masses on Radar