The Place of Scraps

The Place of Scraps

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
George Ryga Award for Social Award: Jordan Abel, The Place of Scraps (Finalist)
BC Book Prize, Poetry: Jordan Abel, The Place of Scraps (Winner)

The Place of Scraps revolves around Marius Barbeau, an early-twentieth-century ethnographer, who studied many of the First Nations cultures in the Pacific Northwest, including Jordan Abel's ancestral Nisga'a Nation. Barbeau, in keeping with the popular thinking of the time, believed First Nations cultures were about to disappear completely, and that it was up to him to preserve what was left of these dying cultures while he could. Unfortunately, his methods of preserving First Nations cultures included purchasing totem poles and potlatch items from struggling communities in order to sell them to museums. While Barbeau strove to protect First Nations cultures from vanishing, he ended up playing an active role in dismantling the very same cultures he tried to save.

Drawing inspiration from Barbeau's canonical book Totem Poles, Jordan Abel explores the complicated relationship between First Nations cultures and ethnography. His poems simultaneously illuminate Barbeau's intentions and navigate the repercussions of the anthropologist's actions.

Through the use of erasure techniques, Abel carves out new understandings of Barbeau's writing - each layerreveals a fresh perspective, each word takes on a different connotation, each letter plays a different role, and each punctuation mark rises to the surface in an unexpected way. As Abel writes his way ever deeper into Barbeau's words, he begins to understand that he is much more connected to Barbeau than he originally suspected.

Publisher: Vancouver, British Columbia : Talonbooks, ©2013
ISBN: 9780889227880
Branch Call Number: C811.6 ABE 2013
Characteristics: 233, [28] pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

In this innovative book, Nisga’a poet Jordan Abel uses the technique of erasure (eliminating certain words from a text to create a new meaning) to explore the writing of early 20th century ethnographer Marius Barbeau, who studied First Nations cultures in the Pacific Northwest. Thinking that Firs... Read More »

List - BC Poets
saintjennifer Aug 21, 2017

Winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, Abel's debut collection uses the technique of erasure to address the issue of cultural appropriation and the sometime fraught relationship between anthropology and aboriginal communities.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SL

To Top