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Local Indigenous writers release first book –

Poets Kelsey Borgford and Cole Forrest collaborate on the collection Once the Smudge is Lit

The book formed from a coffee shop plan.

So recalled Cole Forrest, who along with Kelsey Borgford, has released Once the Smudge is Lit, a new poetry collection from Kegedonce Press. The two writers’ talents were augmented by illustrations from Tessa Pizzale.

The three friends have known each other for many years, and each has been active in the local arts scene since high school. Plans to collaborate on a book were simmering for some time, and in December of 2022, “we all met at a coffee shop and started planning out what we wanted to do,” Forrest said, and now that plan has reached fruition.

Patricia Campbell, with Kegedonce Press, felt the works within Once the Smudge is Lit, “carry the reader into deeply spiritual elements of Nishnaabe culture, highlighting Indigenous experience in post-colonial times via themes ranging from friendship and love to ceremony and community.”

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