You Might Be Sorry You Read This is a stunning debut, revealing how breaking silences and reconciling identity can refine anger into something both useful and beautiful.
A poetic memoir that looks unflinchingly at childhood trauma (both incestuous rape and surviving exposure in extreme cold), it also tells the story of coming to terms with a hidden Indigenous identity when the poet discovered her Métis heritage at age 38.
This collection is a journey of pain, belonging, hope, and resilience. The confessional poems are polished yet unpretentious, often edgy but humorous; they explore trauma yet prioritize the poet’s story. Honouring the complexities of Indigenous identity and the raw experiences of womanhood, mental illness, and queer selfhood, these narratives carry weight. They tell us “You need / only be the simple / expression of the divine / intent / that is your life.”
There is a lifetime in these poems.
“Michelle Poirier Brown’s first collection of poetry is accomplished and gripping. In her five-decade story, perceptions, denial, emotional embroilments and poignant tenderness are peeled back and examined. As the narrative builds, we encounter the sheer alchemical power of poetry. This is rare. You Might Be Sorry You Read This will change you.”–Betsy Warland, Bloodroot—Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss
“‘One of the functions of poetry is to make you uncomfortable.’ This epigraph, by Pádraig Ó Tuama, begins Michelle Poirier Brown’s debut collection—a collection that intends, unapologetically, to discomfort the reader. With unflinching precision and the exactness of a fine poet’s eye, Poirier Brown challenges her readers to encounter not only her childhood trauma but, ultimately, the power of her self—her late-discovered Métis identity, her navigation of PTSD, her unwillingness to settle for less than the truth. In the final poem, “Self-Portrait of the Poet,” she concludes, “go ahead. look. / Look as long as you like.” Invitation or command, it’s a hard look Poirier Brown offers. It may make readers uncomfortable. But they won’t be sorry.”
—Laura Apol, author of A Fine Yellow Dust