In poems that risk the comingling of anger and elegy, poetry and documentation, humour and the dark spectre of poverty, Michelle Porter’s Inquiries oscillates at its edges, and amplifies the presence of human strength as it keeps company with our enigmatic and ever-present nemeses. This is a startling debut where the line between reality and reality television blurs, where a simple trip to the grocery store unifies mother and daughter in struggle, and where an economics of iniquity proves the existence of love as equality. With wit, poise, raw emotion, and versatility, Inquiries announces the emergence of an impressive new talent.
- Pat Lowther Memorial Award Finalist
“This is an exciting ‘old book’. I say old because it feels as if Porter has gone and peeled off all the old conversations of our half-breed, Métis, and Indigenous families from inside our kitchens and crafted them into this amazing piece of work. I so recall growing up and giving every stick of furniture, doors, walls, even the radio and that new TV a personality. Every word inside my house was a poem. Every poem birthed story, and we rattled all of them together, like Porter has done in her kitchen poems, clutch after clutch. There is no book like this ‘old book’. Sharp-edged, beautiful, poignant, funny, and rich with love—and of course, the poetry is spectacular.” – Lee Maracle
“In Inquiries, Michelle Porter traces a Métis family’s history, their mother’s resilience, and their complex sense of home despite stark poverty and transience across houses, towns and cities, and rivers. Porter brings a magic realism to her poetry, where the kitchen, the refrigerator, the faucet and sink, the door, all become witnesses, alongside the poet, to the lives lived. Her lyric sings with quiet grace and undeniable integrity. If the people whose portraits are drawn here sought a way out, these poems nonetheless seek a way further in, to the wisdom the experience carries.” – 2020 Pat Lowther Memorial Award jury
“Porter has proven herself to be a deft writer… This book is a breath of fresh, warm baked bread air.” – St. Albert Gazette
“Inquires is thought-provoking in its ability to question, yet reads deeply personal. Lee Maracle describes the work as ‘a new old book,’ which speaks to Porter’s powerful capabilities as a writer, thinker, and poet… Porter’s poetics carry old world wisdom, in moments the teachings of Elders, and fuses contemporary poetic strategies.” – Muskrat Magazine
“All in all, Inquiries is an example of the power of a poet’s pen. How they can distill and summarize emotions, places and events into a few sentences amazes me and always will.” – The Miramichi Reader
Michelle Porter is a Red River Métis poet, journalist, and editor. She holds degrees in journalism, folklore, and geography (PhD). Her academic research and creative work have been focused on home, Métis mobility, and the changing nature of our relationship to land. She’s won awards for her work in poetry and journalism, and has been published in literary journals, newspapers, and magazines across the country. She lives in St. John’s.