it was never going to be okay is a collection of poetry and prose exploring the intimacies of understanding intergenerational trauma, Indigeneity and queerness, while addressing urban Indigenous diaspora and breaking down the limitations of sexual understanding as a trans woman. As a way to move from the linear timeline of healing and coming to terms with how trauma does not exist in subsequent happenings, it was never going to be okay tries to break down years of silence in simpson’s debut collection of poetry:


i am five

my sisters are saying boy

i do not know what the word means but—

i am bruised into knowing it: the blunt b,

the hollowness of the o, the blade of y


jaye simpson's it was never going to be okay is a symphony of unrelenting rage and undying hope that beckons to be heard, seen and held with the utmost care. In this stunning debut they speak truths to the complexities of the body, land and memory through an intimately structured and poignant cadence. This collection will leave you longing for more and, in the legacy of trans Indigenous literature, change lives. --Arielle Twist, author of Disintegrate/Dissociate


jaye simpson marshals a vast economy of images because their subject matter is as large as an entire country, as the colonial past, as structures of oppression and indifference that undermine Indigenous and trans livability. At the level of craft, simpson makes use of the codes of tragedy, polemic, autobiography and the lyric artfully and powerfully. By the book's end, buoyed by its final beautiful and tender section, a kind of love letter to trans Indigenous peoples, one is called on to build a new world. In this way, jaye simpson's poetry is a vital artifact of a decolonial future! --Billy-Ray Belcourt, 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize winner for This Wound Is a World

It Was Never Going to Be Okay by Jaye Simpson

Out of Stock
  • Nightwood Editions 2021

    New paperback

    96 pages