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This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  513 ratings  ·  97 reviews
This Accident of Being Lost is the knife-sharp new collection of stories and songs from award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. These visionary pieces build upon Simpson's powerful use of the fragment as a tool for intervention in her critically acclaimed collection Islands of Decolonial Love. Provocateur and poet, she continually rebir ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published April 8th 2017 by Astoria
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4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  513 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers, artists
I "discovered" this collection of poetry, song, and story lost in the organized chaos of a fellow teacher's classroom library. Personally, I feel that this is perhaps the most beautiful cover and it should be in a showcased window. Not only did I read this, but I read parts of it aloud to any person that was around. This collection is topical to a variety of issues that relate to the impact of decolonization, the internet age, relationships, social justice etc. So much struck me in this piece, b ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book of poems (described as songs) and stories is one I encountered at the House of Anansi booth at AWP. It followed me home.

Simpson navigates modernity as an "NDN"* in spaces and rituals that have to be constructed just to connect to the past. Relationships become symbols of the past and future.

I followed a few rabbit holes of the music connected to her work, and recent Canadian events that were mentioned, but I was ignorant of.
An incredible collection of stories and songs/poems by this Nishnaabeg writer. Wonderfully diverse in content as well as format, with numerous SF stories. Beautiful writing, and beautiful narration in the audiobook by the author with her quietly powerful voice, just a little deadpan sarcastic in the perfect way to match the humour in many of the pieces. That said I feel like I missed some things from doing the audio, because you can't linger! This might have been five stars if I'd read the print ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indigenous-lit
No one taught my soul the language of this. When someone speaks it to me I will share it with you.

A passing line in the text says, “ You told me to take you to the most beautiful place in my territory “. I believe this means a place in one’s body-mind-soul, not a topographical terrain...

Should you read this book, while this is vastly inaccurate in terms of a review, please, I urge you, look for the passage on the “tidy bun”, it will make the whole book worthwhile :)
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've never read such an explosion of stories and poems as these. Every single poem, every single story, I wanted to share and share with friends, family, strangers on the street. I wanted to read them out loud and absorb them into me. Each one carries emotions and senses that you can't always put your finger on, that make you want to re-read them over and over. When I finished this book, I considered just flipping back to the front and starting over again.
Simpson uses fiction as a vehicle to tell the truth.

And when fiction feels true, or real, it makes it all that much better. Her short fiction has distinctive multiple voices but I can feel her author’s touch in all of them and she makes me think about how I could be a better author or writer.

Her work as a musician means that her poetry reads and sounds like music. What I adore about her poetry is that it is not forced, it does not feel abstract in any way, I understand almost all of her poems wh
Erik Caswell
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
wow. I loved this. a refreshing read that somehow manages to punch with antagonistic force ((esp if you're a white reader -- listen to your discomfort)) but at the same time never dwells too long in self seriousness, lingering on the edges of self deprecation and honest self assessment. tough to read in places to be honest. many aggressive insights about settler colonialism and the ways "sympathetic white liberals" are the most deluded and ((passive?)) aggressive of colonizers. like indigenous n ...more
Tree Seelke
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I always strive to read diverse literature but I truly didn't know what to expect from this book.

Strong. Unapologetic. Honest. Heartbreak. Love. Those are all words that vaguely encompass the many facets of this piece of written art. I feel that I am left knowing so much more about the life of the author as well as left with many questions.

While very short, the collection of songs and stories is powerful and vibrant and compelling. I love that I fe
Maggie Gordon
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This Accident of Being Lost is a collection of poetry from an Indigenous writer that delves into both spirituality and day-to-day themes. It was a fascinating collection of techniques, with prose poems and lyrics intertwined to tell several related stories. Will have to seek out more of Simpson's work in the future!
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection that has bite. If you don't have thick skin or armor, this one will work your heart and your nerves. She leads with painful vulnerability and scathing sarcasm. Her essays and short stories are nothing other than brave and raw. I found myself reading paragraphs over and over, copying them down in my thought journal and arguing with myself about whether I agree or disagree with her words. And then she's laugh out loud humorous. This is a collection to keep by your bed and read ...more
Ian Ridewood
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Simultaneously hilarious, furious, and heart-wrenching: a collection that deserves to stand the test of time.
“There are eight new notifications from Signal, all from Niibish. She just made me switch from imessage to threema to Signal because Edward Snowden tweeted that Signal is the safest texting app, mostly because the code is open source and has been independently verified. I wonder if she knows what “code” and “open source” mean, but if anyone can be trusted about these things my money’s on Snowden. Also I have no idea why she cares about internet security, but she clearly does.”

(from “Big Water”)

Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spare and beautiful, funny and honest. I could not put this one down!
Karen Connelly
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerful, no holds barred, lyrical, enraging, tender, funny. I only wished that it was bigger, but I'm on a Big Book kick at the moment, so that's just me.
Robyn Letson
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hilarious, breathtaking and strange. Always grateful to read new work from Leeanne Betasamosake Simpson.
Anne Logan
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
As I continue to work through the 2019 Canada Reads Longlist, I’m happening upon some books as old as 2017 ( I typically try to review books within the year they are released), so I love that I have finally have a good excuse to read them! This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is an evocative mix of poetry, song and short story that details the conflicting emotions Simpson (or the first person perspective in this book) faces as an Indigenous person in today’s society.

I first
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oddly enough…
there was 's o m e t h i n g' so
IN-YOUR-FACE about this author's potent and ferocious sense of humour/wittiness, that it was quite difficult to ignore the points she was trying to make when she launched in to her many pissed off rambles about non-indigenous folks along the course of these 120 or so pages.

I rather liked and enjoyed her style of writing and story telling. For some reason, I now feel somewhat guilty being a white woman. I trust this will soon pass now that I'm done re
I read this as preparation for my final year dissertation, thanks to my teacher lending me a copy.

Written with a strong voice, this book has taught me the power that stories and words hold, the power of what we say and what we do not say. Fresh, original and raw, I would like to try to take example from this collection and write exactly what I need to say, no matter who it makes uncomfortable.

I really enjoyed it, even though it was definitely not what I expected (and that's probably because of
Jim Puskas
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: prose-poetry
Gotta love this dame! Pissed off, articulate, insightful, irreverent and funny as an angry chicken at a Sunday-school picnic. Imagery that leaps off the page and stings like a handful of wasps.
Her send-up of a ballet mom (Tidy Bun) and Calgary's great flood broke me up, while at the other end of the spectrum, Seeing through the End of the World is just about the rawest, most deeply personal and moving bits of prose one is likely to encounter.
Brooke Hayes
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book of stories and songs. ‘Seeing through the end of the world’ broke open my heart and made me cry the first four times I read it. Amazing. Many interesting perspectives in the book worth sharing.
Scott Neigh
A mix of poems and stories, or really fragments of stories. Short, sharp. Colonization, human frailty and toughness, people doing the best they can in messed-up, inspiring, loving relation. Very good.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: indigenous-books
...I didn’t get it. I don’t think I’m artsy/academic enough, so just not my thing!
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indigenous, fiction
I enjoyed the author's honesty and forthrightness as she explored various themes. I especially enjoyed "Situation Update".
Sameer Vasta
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This reflection was originally published on and references the following books:

- A Poetry Handbook , by Mary Oliver
- Citizen: An American Lyric , by Claudia Rankine
- Islands of Decolonial Love , by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
- The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance , by Audre Lorde
- Summons: Poems from Tanzania
- This Accident of Being Lost , by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
- Upstream , by Mary Oliver

**** **** ****

"The best use of literature bends not toward the narrow and th
D'Arcy White
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, poetry, poly, queer
I read this in audiobook form — narrated by the author. Although that is always a treat I think this is a book I’d like to buy to reread and spend more time with as the words are beautiful. The writing stunning. I highly recommend this book to everyone
Lindsay from TrulyBooked
There was this strange feeling when I started that I wasn't smart enough for these poems and the stories that accompanied them. It wasn't until I forced myself to slow down and savour them that I was able to really begin to appreciate them for what they were.

They're enjoyable, uncomfortable, beautiful, intense, and rough all in one. And, it's very important to note, not written for me nor to cater to people like me. Even just beginning to read this, I realized how sanitized the history we're tau
Maayan K
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty different experience than other indigenous literature I've read. It's very funny, extremely contemporary in sensibility and form, and even futuristic.

Simpson's stories are a reflection of her nation's storytelling traditions, but are also a brand new invention of them in 2017. The stories describe the authenticity trap that indigenous people find themselves in, where they are condemned as inauthentic for living in the modern world, while carrying out traditional practices acqui
Sadie Ruin
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, aboriginal
Flash stories, songs, poems, and fragments. I can’t really describe this book properly except to say it was beautiful and resonated deeply with me. Truly a must for any Indigenous post-colonial person.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it

I found this to be an intriguing little collection of poetry and micro-stories.

Some of the texts in this collection are light and breezy, and some require multiple reads to get at the layers of their depth. Some of the texts are too ambiguous, too random, or too full of terms I don't understand (I'm mostly speaking about Twitter hashtags) for my taste -- though I see how they fit in the overall book. A few are wonderful, then end oddly, as if they should have ended a few paragraphs or stanzas b
Julian Higuerey
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
amazing! Everyone should read this collection of short stories
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Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is “a gifted writer who brings passion and commitment to her storytelling and who has demonstrated an uncommon ability to manage an impressive range of genres from traditional storytelling to critical analysis, from poetry to the spoken word, from literary and social activism.” In 2014, Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King, an ...more