WINNER of the 2022 Stephan G. Stephansson Alberta Award for Poetry.
Tell the Birds Your Body is Not a Gun, is a book of minimalist poetry, prose poems and poetic essays exploring family grief, healing, and trauma through the female lens. Tell the Birds Your Body is Not a Gun is a visceral narrative that questions our relationship with religion and challenges how we reflect on our own memories of trauma. As readers look to the past in the manuscript, they are asked to examine how each of them would experience and react to grief and abuse.
"Tell the Birds Your Body Is Not A Gun is a collection pierced with paradoxes of grief that only the brave can sing. In these poems, Rayanne Haines voices the wounds and bonds of family with a lean intensity and shining tenderness that holds dreams, suicide, and wild horses. Haines has a chisel for a voice." – Shazia Hafiz Ramji, author of Port of Being
"In this no-holds-barred collection, Rayanne Haines swings between sassily urgent prose poems, stark narratives of crisis and recovery, and instructional lyrics that jar the reader awake. These pages breach the borders of form and feeling, tracing a loop through Frazey Ford allusions to clap-backs directed at patriarchal authorities. “Be heavy footed…let them try to tell you to clean your mouth,” writes Haines in “Labour Pains”; this is a book about the pain and pleasure of care, and a book for everyone who suspects that dirt holds them together and wonders if their family is normal: the answer is no, thank goddess." – Tanis MacDonald, author of Mobile and Out of Line