Language, Land and Belonging: Poetic Inquiries

Natalie Honein, Margaret McKeon (Eds.)

by Adam Garry Podolski (Quest Art School and Gallery), Anita Lafferty (University of Alberta), Maya T. Borhani (University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), Holly Tsun Haggarty (Lakehead University), Ángel L. Martínez (Antioch University), Paula Aamli (University of London), Margaret McKeon (St. Mary’s University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada), Jan Buley (Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador), Will Morin (Laurentian University), Kathryn Ricketts (University of Regina), Joseph Naytowhow , Wanda Campbell (Acadia University), Marcy Meyer (Ball State University), Adrian Downey (Mount Saint Vincent University), Sandra Filippelli (University of British Columbia, Canada), Daniela Elza , Robert Nellis (Red Deer Polytechnique, Canada), Natalie Honein (American University of Sharjah, UAE), Alexandra Fidyk (University of Alberta), Sarah MacKenzie-Dawson (Bucknell University, USA), Andrejs Kulnieks (University of Saskatchewan, Canada), Nicole D. Morris (Institute of American Indian Arts), Pauline Sameshima (Lakehead University, Canada), Adam Vincent (University of British Columbia; University of the Fraser Valley), Emma Green (The Psychotherapy Centre, New Zealand)

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This collection is a vital and important volume that shows how poetry and poetic inquiry can be part of relational, ancestral and community repair.
The 23 poets who are featured in this book use their poems to bring attention to the nuances, harm and possibilities of language. They represent a variety of geographies, languages, lands, and cultures. The three sections—language, land, and belonging—sing with personal and community examples focusing on our relationality. Poetic Inquirers interested in the power of language and identities will find the work in this book to be instructive as they work through issues of reparation, indigenous rights, and meanings of community.

Dr. Sandra L. Faulkner
Professor of Media and Communication
Affiliate Faculty Honors College/Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Bowling Green State University

This volume takes up themes emergent from the 7th International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry (ISPI) which invited participants to reflect on the United Nations Declaration of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. In this refereed collection, Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors use poetic inquiry to explore the importance of their ancestral languages and lands, and consider the Indigenous languages and peoples of the lands where they live.

Situated in diverse global contexts, poet-researchers examine the intersectionality of their languages, their lands, and their sense of belonging. They offer relational understandings of, and articulate obligations for, their environment and communities. Through stories of shared generational pain and renewal, each author brings the reader into their world of learning and growth. They do this through discourses of belonging and relational responsibilities that tie them to a place, a genealogy.

As a method of study that incorporates poetry into academic research, poetic inquiry is concerned with particularity, complexity, and transformations. Making research more visceral and evocative, it invites researchers to examine and engage with the knowledge they seek through a continual process of questioning, welcoming, and awareness. In this volume, poetic inquiry helps to honor languages and histories taken for granted; it allows looking back in order to reexamine, redefine, and make sense of the present and its shortcomings while reimagining a different future. This work seeks to reclaim, through poetic inquiry, wisdom of language, land, and belonging.

John J. Guiney Yallop
Margaret McKeon and Natalie Honein

I. Language

Chapter 1 Anita Lafferty
Godenítłe & Dzene [poem]
A Love Letter to Dene zhatie [essay]

Chapter 2 Emma Green
kaiako [poem]
Kaiako: Some Reflections on Intimacy, Interconnectedness and Insight [essay]

Chapter 3 Maya T. Borhani
Weye Ebis (Keep Speaking) [poem]
Weye Ebis (Keep Speaking) [essay]

Chapter 4 Holly Tsun Haggarty
Case Study [poem]
The Stations of Her Loss [poem]
Let’s Tog [poem]
Let Me Write the Syntax of Your Body [poem]
Lost and Found: The Indigeneity and Genesis of Language [essay]

Chapter 5 Ángel L. Martínez
Borinqueñidades, or How Borikén Taíno Walked the Earth in Words [poem]
Borinqueñidades, or How Borikén Taíno Walked the Earth in Words [essay]

Chapter 6 Paula Aamli
You Can’t Say That [poem]
Those People [poem]
Wanting to Belong is not Belonging [essay]

Chapter 7 Margaret McKeon
My (English) Tongue Walks the Connemara Gaeltacht [poem]
Wise Woman of the Hag Stone, Beara Peninsula, Ireland [poem]
High Mountain Truth [poem]
Signs of Creation [poem]
In the Languages of Rivers [essay]

Chapter 8 Jan Buley and Will Morin
Layer Upon Layer: Bezhik [poem]
Layer Upon Layer: Niizh [poem]
Layer Upon Layer: Nswi [poem]
Layer Upon Layer: Bezhik, Niizh, Nswi Collaborative Poetry [essay]

II. Land

Chapter 9 Joseph Naytowhow and Kathryn Ricketts
Braiding Sweet Intentions through Mentorship and Friendship [essay]
Looking for My Mother [poem]
Land Acknowledgement [poem]
The Tobacco Pouch – An Earnest Attempt [poem]
Big Bear’s Buffalo Dreams [poem]
Tentative Apology [poem]

Chapter 10 Wanda Campbell
Dialects of Dreaming Down Under [poem]
Dialects of Dreaming Down Under [essay]

Chapter 11 Adam Garry Podolski
Beneath the Canadian Tuxedo [poem]
Zenibaagamigoons (Chrysalis) [poem]
Undressing with the Help of Narrative and Poetic Inquiry [essay]

Chapter 12 Marcy Meyer
The Gourd Dancers* [poem]
Retracing “The Gourd Dancers” [essay]

Chapter 13 Sandra Filippelli
The Goddess of Yamdrok Yumtso Lake [poem]
The Goddess of Yamdrok Yumtso Lake [essay]

Chapter 14 daniela elza
but we still argue [poem]
splitting [poem]
Tuning in to the Low Pitch Hum of the Earth: Messing Around with the Profound [essay]

Chapter 15 Robert Nellis
Windows [poem]
What is Called Lost? [poem]
Ascending Spring [poem]
Two-Story Colonial [poem]
Memories, Legacies, and the Moon in the Sky [essay]

Chapter 16 Natalie Honein
Ancestral Appeal [essay]
Of Cedars and Olives [poem]
A Yearning [poem]
Foremothers [poem]

III. Belonging

Chapter 17 alexandra fidyk
Indigeneity as Love [essay and poems]

Chapter 18 Sarah MacKenzie-Dawson
Motherhood Overlapping [poem]
(Im)perfect Mirrors [poem]
Fluttered (Be)longing [poem]
Along the Susquehanna: Poetic Inquiry as Be(long)ing [essay]

Chapter 19 Andrejs Kūlnieks
Steps Toward Gifts of Movement [poem]
Travel along the Amber Sea [poem]
Burning through Decades [poem]
Eco-Poetic Inquiry Connections: Translation, Performance, and Literacy Learning Through Places [essay]

Chapter 20 Nicole Morris
16. [poem]
The price of entering white spaces [poem]
FREE [poem]
Poetry for Calling In [essay]

Chapter 21 Pauline Sameshima
Finding my Talk: Language as Protector [essay]
Asking my XY [poem]
What Am I Without . . . [poem]

Chapter 22 Adam Vincent
Languaging the Helix: Ally-Acadie [poem]
Poetic Inquiry: Self Discovery on Indigenous Homelands [essay]

Chapter 23 Adrian M. Downey
It is The End of The World [poem]
All is Still [poem]
He/She Breaks it in Two [poem]
All I Know How to Give [essay]

List of Contributors


Natalie Honein is a writer, educator, and life-long learner. She has taught academic writing at universities in the Middle East for the past twenty years and holds postgraduate degrees in political science, language, and education. She is a strong advocate for narrative research and poetic inquiry. Her publications have appeared in several academic journals and books, and have explored Arab women’s activism, social equity, identity, and the plight of refugees. She lives and writes in Dubai.

Margaret McKeon is an outdoor educator, writer, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at St. Mary’s University in Calgary Alberta. In her research and in life, as a settler person of Irish and German ancestry, she considers land relationship, ancestral knowledges and colonialism through story and poetry. Her work has been published in literary and academic journals, and book collections. She lives with her partner surrounded by mountains and rivers in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, in Treaty 7 Territory.

Poetry, poetic inquiry, colonialism, land, belonging, indigeneity, place, poetic remembrance, heritage language, intergenerational, loss, soul, translation, revitalization, culture, Indigenous, roots, homeland, ancestry, poet-researcher, counternarratives, poetic knowledge, identity, language, decolonizing, appropriation, arts-based methods, relationality, dialects, curriculum, meaning-making, writing, Mother Earth, relationships, research, Ukraine, Canada, Nepal, eco-poetic, residential schools, Dene, M?ori, Cree, Mi'kmaw, Anishinaabe, Maidu, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Ireland, Australia, Latvia, South Africa, China, New Zealand, literature, ecology, narrative, racism, diaspora, life writing, qualitative research, culturally responsive pedagogy

See also

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Language, Land and Belonging: Poetic Inquiries





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


5 B&W

Publication date

April 2023