Nymeria Publishing is excited to welcome author Hidden Bear to our family. As the author of one previous work — Moleskine on a Coffee Table — we are excited to announce his newest collection, Suburb’n ndn.
Suburb’n ndn is a powerful and unforgettable collection of poems that tackles the complex themes of identity, culture, and discovery.
Prior to the release of Suburb’n ndn, we sat down with Hidden Bear to discuss his new book, the importance of reconnecting with your heritage, and how to not let self-criticism stand in your way.
Check out the conversation below and preorder Suburb’n ndn starting June 29th at barnesandnoble.com.
“I cannot carve out different parts of me like bloodied fractions
I can’t point to the ancient blood running through my actions
I’m not two halves at war
I am one Mechoopda”
-an excerpt from Suburb’n ndn by Hidden Bear
Nymeria: What do you want readers to take away from this collection?
Hidden Bear: I hope it will open their eyes to two new perspectives. One, I hope they learn to see the world through a new lens. The natural world and our connection to it is not just an indigenous practice but a necessary one for humanity. Second, to see indigenous peoples as modern people living the same experiences they do in the same contexts they do. Instead of seeing the imagining the past or caricatures/racial stereotypes of indigenous peoples.
N: What was the most challenging part of writing this collection?
HB: Editing. The ideas for each poem and the topics I wanted to touch on were never a challenge. The words and themes flowed from a wellspring but organizing it into a structure that was coherent and told a clear story were difficult. Deciding which poems fit in the book’s narrative and which ones needed revision was agonizing. And then I submitted the manuscript and I still wasn’t done with revisions. Even the final editing process with Nymeria challenged me. I have a difficult time letting go of a word or phrase. And realizing I needed to rewrite a passage that had seemed perfect the first time felt like failure. In truth, the process made my work shine and its message rang even clearer but I still needed to grieve the changes.
N: What made you want to start writing poetry?
HB: I experienced a great deal of bullying when I was younger and around 7th grade, we had an assignment to write a poem in my English class. As I wrote my first abstract poem I was delighted at how easy it was to express myself. Suddenly I had a tool to turn my inner thoughts into an idea someone else could understand and maybe relate to. This allowed me to lower the mask I often wore to fit in. Poetry gave me a way to talk about myself in an authentic way. And I fell in love with the art form and the many gifts it grants both writer and reader. It remains my favorite way to express myself.
N: Your collection discusses your journey of finding yourself within your own culture, can you tell us how that journey was for you? And how writing about it helped?
HB: My journey toward reconnecting to my indigenous heritage was a long road to walk. In many ways, it is a path I am still traveling on. The most challenging part was facing my self criticism. I deal with a lot of insecurity around my identity and I had internalized so many invalidating beliefs that combating them felt overwhelming. Writing poetry became a necessary and important tool for navigation. My emotions were poured out over my notebooks instead of clouding my thoughts. Once they were on paper I could reflect on them and most importantly work through them. I would never have made it this far without several poems in this book. They often echo in mind when I face those self doubts again. This book really encapsulates a range of emotional experiences from feeling completely invalid to being fully immersed in my identity and every experience in between. And at the end of years of internal struggle to be able to pour that out into a single book of poems is something that fills me with pride.
N: What can readers expect next from you?
HB: I have plans for another book but I am still in the very early stages of working on it. In the meantime, I am working on moving past writing poetry into performing poetry. Trying to attend more poetry reading events to both perform and listen. You can see me practice and experiment with my performance on my Tiktok and Instagram accounts if you are interested.
Suburb’n ndn will be published in November of 2022 by Nymeria Publishing. You can visit nymeriapublishing.com and follow @nymeriapublishing on social media for updates about the release.