“We began to dig ourselves
deeper than we dreamed
when we began to see
metal as other than medicine,
our bodies, more than mineral. ”
From an emerging environmental voice comes an evocative, multilayered poetry collection about extraction, destruction, and the erasure of Indigenous people.
At Rabbit Lake in Northern Saskatchewan lies the second largest uranium mine in the western world. For decades, uranium ore and its poisonous by-product—pitchblende, a highly radioactive rock—were removed, transported, and scattered across the land, forever altering the lives of plants, animals, and people who live there.
Elise Marcella Godfrey’s Pitchblende is a powerful, political collection that challenges us to urgently rethink our responsibilities to the land, water, and air that sustains all species, and our responsibilities to one another. Inspired by and adapted from testimonies given at the public hearings about the Rabbit Lake mine, which prioritized the voices of industrial interests, Godfrey gathers voices from the found texts, and adds others, in defence of the natural world. Interconnected, Godfrey's poems are a choral and visual, literal representation of how industry, capitalism, and colonialism seek to erase affected peoples and their voices.
“A timely, polyvocal, exquisitely crafted poetic intervention. ”—Randy Lundy, author of Blackbird Song and Field Notes for the Self
"A distilled act of witnessing, built from nearly forgotten testimonies. " —Warren Cariou
"In Pitchblende, Elise Marcella Godfrey’s experimentation with poetic form and multiples voices, archival and imagined, to address the fallout of uranium mining that often places profit over ecology, community, and sustainability, is radiant. The poems are alive and magnified with testimony of Indigenous Elders, women, and activists, who are steadfast in their defense of earth’s inhabitants and life-giving forces. Pitchblende is “against forgetting. ” In her honest rendering of voices that are often diminished or dismissed, Godfrey has earned the name of ally. " —Rita Bouvier, author of nakamowin’sa