Heid E. Erdrich’s latest volume of poetry, Little Big Bully, is brutal and beautiful. It won the National Poetry Series, and was released just before the 2020 election. A major theme throughout the book of poems is poor behavior, manifested in numerous ways. An Anishinaabe poet and member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, Erdrich writes of violence and erasure with aching clarity, in one case, comparing the disappearance of bird species with that of Native nations. Erdrich talks to Sheila Regan about her latest work in this MinneCulture piece. Listen here:
“So at some point, when I was struggling with both personal events, and the political events since 2016,” say Erdrich. “I saw somebody post something about, you know, the 10 signs of a narcissistic abusive relationship, and like, Oh, my God, this totally applies to the country.”
In her poems, Erdrich grapples with why people get hoodwinked by bad people.
“Yeah, I was really trying to figure out like, what is the mechanism? What is the thing emotionally, intellectually, behaviorally, and that allows abuse, people who side with abusers, people who become subordinate.”
Signed copies of Little Big Bully are available at Birchbark Books in Minneapolis. Support for MinneCulture on KFAI comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.