In this vital début, Kyla Jamieson sifts through the raw material of her life before and after a disabling concussion in search of new understandings of self and worth. Energized by the tensions between embodiment and dissociation, Body Count flickers between Vancouver and New York, passing through dreamscapes and pain states. Both earnest and irreverent, comedic and cosmic, these poems come from a full heart (“You came here / for a kind of truth / & I want to give / you everything”) that often finds its way obstructed by fear, anxiety, and the myriad ways trauma can pattern a life. Here, we see the work of removing the barriers between this heart and the world, and glimpse the labour it takes to heal a body and mind discarded by capitalism. One part rape culture protest anthem, one part long-distance love story, one part invisible illness testimony, and 100% epistolary intimacy, Body Count is a tonic for the times we live in, an open invitation to question the textures of our realities, the ways we inhabit our bodies, and the futures we envision for ourselves and our communities.
Praise for Kyla Jamieson
“Rooted in the body and always remaining self-aware, Jamieson’s writing is in a style all her own […] Refreshing in its candour and complexity, Body Count is a powerful first collection.”
— Starred review by Sheniz Janmohamed in Quill & Quire
The poems in Body Count’s first half cycle through a kaleidescope of daily desires and frustrations—blazing crushes, sharp encounters with misogyny—building an inventory of a swift-moving mind. Then, halfway through, a concussion prompts a change of pace. As the speaker’s life slows and splits open, these poems do too, turning inward toward the complex, chaotic, mercurial rhythms of a mind in recovery. Funny, sharp and aching, these poems take an “invisible” state and render it not just real, but iridescent.
— Emma Healey, author of Stereoblind
Kyla Jamieson’s poems put new, unsentimental, and searingly funny language to the often silencing experiences of disability and womanhood. Here, illness and femininity are not liabilities but ballasts in Jamieson’s rage against the patriarchal machines of CanLit, institutional hierarchies, and inaccessible public space. Body Count provides not only a refuge, but also a site of life-giving resistance.
— Liz Bowen, author of Sugarblood
About Kyla Jamieson
Kyla Jamieson lives and relies on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Her work has appeared in Poetry Is Dead, Room Magazine, ELLE Canada, VICE, GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine, Peach Mag, The Maynard and Plenitude. She is the author of the chapbook Kind of Animal (Rahila’s Ghost Press).