You're the clump of blackened spruce
that lights my gasoline-soaked heart
It's just impossible you won't be back
to quench yourself in my crème-soda
Irreverent and transcendent, lyrical and slang, Heating the Outdoors is an endlessly surprising new work from award-winning poet Marie-Andrée Gill.
In these micropoems, writing and love are acts of decolonial resilience. Rooted in Nitassinan, the territory and ancestral home of the Ilnu Nation, they echo the Ilnu oral tradition in Gill's interrogation and reclamation of the language, land, and interpersonal intimacies distorted by imperialism. They navigate her interior landscape—of heartbreak, humor, and, ultimately, unrelenting light—amidst the boreal geography.
Heating the Outdoors describes the yearnings for love, the domestic monotony of post-breakup malaise, and the awkward meeting of exes. As the lines between interior and exterior begin to blur, Gill's poems, here translated by Kristen Renee Miller, become a record of the daily rituals and ancient landscapes that inform her identity not only as a lover, then ex, but also as an Ilnu and Québécoise woman.
About the authors
Ilnu Nation member Marie-Andrée Gill grew up on the Mashteuiatsh reserve in the Saguenay region in Quebec, home to the Pekuakamishkueu community. She is the acclaimed author of three French-language poetry collections from La Peuplade: Béante, Frayer, and Chauffer le dehors. Two of her books have been translated into English by Kristen Renee Miller, including Spawn (2020) and Heating the Outdoors (forthcoming in 2023). A doctoral student in literature, Gill's research and creative work focus on the decolonial project of writing the intimate. She hosts the award-winning Radio-Canada podcast "Laissez-nous raconter: L'histoire crochie" (Telling Our Twisted Histories), which "reclaims Indigenous history by exploring words whose meanings have been twisted by centuries of colonization." Gill's work has been nominated for many awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry, and she is a two-time recipient of the Salon du Livre Prize in Poetry. She has also won two Indigenous Voices Awards, including the Best Published Poetry in French prize for Chauffer le dehors. Also in 2020, Gill was named Artist of the Year by the Quebec Council of Arts and Letters.
Kristen Renee Miller is the managing editor at Sarabande Books. A poet and translator, she is the 2020 winner of the Gulf Coast Prize in Translation and the translator of two books from the French by poet Marie-Andrée Gill: Spawn (2020) and Heating the Outdoors (forthcoming in 2023). Her work can be found widely, including in POETRY Magazine, The Kenyon Review, DIAGRAM, jubilat, and Best New Poets. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the American Literary Translators Association. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Winner, Indigenous Voices Award for Best Published Poetry in French
“An exceptional third book by the Saguenay poet, who kneels in the beautiful snowbanks of a love that melts all too quickly.” —Dominic Tardif, Le Devoir
“Miller’s translation skillfully delivers the energy and pacing of Gill’s ruminative poems… These pages full of irreverent musings deliver affecting details and candor.” —Publishers Weekly
“Heating the Outdoors is a study in tone, beautifully captured in Kristen Renee Miller’s translations from the French.” —Poetry Foundation
“A luminous, resilient read that finds resonance in our little hidden wounds.” —Rose Carine Henriquez, Le Devoir