Jordan Abel

Jordan Abel is a First Nations writer who lives in Vancouver. He holds a BA from the University of Alberta and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Abel is an editor for Poetry Is Dead magazine and the former poetry editor for PRISM international. His work has been published in many journals and magazines across Canada, including CV2, Capilano Review, Prairie Fire, dANDelion, Geist, ARC Poetry Magazine, Descant, Broken Pencil, OCW Magazine, filling Station, Grain, and Canadian Literature. In early 2013, above/ground Press published his chapbook Scientia. In the spring of 2014, Abel taught a contemporary poetry-writing course for Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies program.
Injun
Author: Jordan Abel
Traditional Territory: Nisga'a
Format: Paperback
, 2016
  • Award-winning Nisga'a poet Jordan Abel's third collection, Injun, is a long poem about racism and the representation of Indigenous peoples.
    Award-winning Nisga'a poet Jordan Abel's third collection, Injun, is a long poem about racism and the representation of indigenous peoples. Composed of text found in western novels published between 1840 and 1950 - the heyday of pulp publishing and a period of unfettered colonialism in North America - Injun then uses erasure, pastiche, and a focused poetics to create a visually striking response to the western genre.

    After compiling the online text of 91 of these now public-domain novels into one gargantuan document, Abel used his word processor's Find" function to search for the word "injun." The 509 results were used as a study in context: How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What was left over once that word was removed? Abel then cut up the sentences into clusters of three to five words and rearranged them into the long poem that is Injun. The book contains the poem as well as peripheral material that will help the reader to replicate, intuitively, some of the conceptual processes that went into composing the poem.

    Though it has been phased out of use in our "post-racial" society, the word "injun" is peppered throughout pulp western novels. Injun retraces, defaces, and effaces the use of this word as a colonial and racial marker. While the subject matter of the source text is clearly problematic, the textual explorations in Injun help to destabilize the colonial image of the "Indian" in the source novels, the western genre as a whole, and the Western canon."

$16.95

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The Place of Scraps
Author: Jordan Abel
Traditional Territory: Nisga'a
Format: Paperback
, 2013
  • The Place of Scraps revolves around Marius Barbeau, an early-twentieth-century ethnographer, who studied many of the First Nations cultures in the Pacific Northwest, including Jordan Abel’s ancestral Nisga’a Nation. Unfortunately, Barbeau’s methods of preserving First Nations cultures included purchasing totem poles and potlatch items from struggling communities in order to sell them to museums. While Barbeau strove to protect First Nations cultures from vanishing, he ended up playing an active role in dismantling the very same cultures he tried to save.

    Through the use of erasure techniques, Abel carves out new understandings of Barbeau’s writing – each layer reveals a fresh perspective, each word takes on a different connotation, each letter plays a different role, and each punctuation mark rises to the surface in an unexpected way. As Abel writes his way ever deeper into Barbeau’s words, he begins to understand that he is much more connected to Barbeau than he originally suspected.

$24.95

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Un/inhabited
Author: Jordan Abel
Traditional Territory: Nisga'a
, 2015
  • Award-winning Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel’s second collection of poetry, Un/inhabited, maps the terrain of the public domain to create a layered investigation of the interconnections between language and land.

    Abel constructed the book’s source text by compiling in their entirety ninety-one western novels found on the website Project Gutenberg, an online archive of works whose copyright has expired. Using his word processor’s Ctrl-F function, he searched the compilation for words that relate to the political and social aspects of land, territory, and ownership. Each search query represents a study in context (How was this word deployed? What surrounded it? What is left over once that word is removed?) accumulating toward a representation of the public domain as a discoverable and inhabitable body of land.

    Featuring a text by independent curator Kathleen Ritter – the first piece of scholarship on Abel’s work – Un/inhabited reminds us of the power of language as material and invites us to reflect on what is present in the empty space when we see nothing.

$24.95

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