nedi nezu (Good Medicine) by Tenille K. Campbell

Jan 24, 2022

nedi nezu (Good Medicine), a poetry collection by Tenille K. Campbell, lets readers into her life to intimately experience themes of life, dating, sex and relationships. Like her first poetry book, #IndianLovePoems, Campbell continues to offer a fresh Indigenous perspective on the complications and beliefs of society through a sexual lens where readers witness the many roles of the author’s life.

Campbell does not shy away from revealing the heartbreak, the challenges, and the failures that life brings, especially when it comes to romance. Through her poems she offers a vision of reconciliation, a way forward, in challenging times. We not only see when life falls down, we see how to get up and continue on, as depicted in an excerpt from her poem, it was quiet moments (p. 53):

the snow crackled in the cold
sun dogs danced with ice crystals
you were so far in the distance
you didn’t see
someone else’s hand
reach down and help me up

you didn’t see when I stopped falling for you

The poetry collection is divided into four sections: Language Lessons, Northern Lights, Broken Treaties, and finally The Land. Each section offers a flow of related poetic words. Under Broken Treaties, Campbell illustrates experience in academia in this passage from her poem titled, indigenous academia (p. 59):

Indigenous academia
makes me ache
talk with me
I want to hear
vowels dripping
from your tongue
mix in the words
from your nation
it doesn’t matter
I don’t yet understand
I will learn

Why should you embrace this poetry? The author, a Dene and Métis poet and a photographer, offers a collection of poetry that will further your knowledge that Indigenous life is appreciably rich and diverse on this land as is Campbell’s humour, and wisdom under the northern lights. Each poem offers the immense glimmers of opportunity to envision her smile and hear her laughter or desire through words, lived experience, and culture.

nedi nezu (Good Medicine)
By Tenille K. Campbell
Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2021, 92 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 978-1-55152-846-5

E.D. Woodford is an Indigenous writer, co-founder of Wildflower Writing Workshops, educational journalist and Indigenous researcher. Faculty and a 2021-2022 United Nations Fellow with Thompson Rivers University, she also works as an anthropologist with the University of Lethbridge Calgary Campus.

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