Making Love with the Land: Essays | Joshua Whitehead
232 pages | University of Minnesota Press | Hardcover | 11.15.22
A moving and deeply personal excavation of Indigenous beauty and passion in a suffering world.
The novel Jonny Appleseed established Joshua Whitehead as one of the most exciting and important new literary voices on Turtle Island, winning both a Lambda Literary Award and Canada Reads 2021. In Making Love with the Land, his first nonfiction book, Whitehead explores the relationships between body, language, and land through creative essay, memoir, and confession.
In prose that is evocative and sensual, unabashedly queer and visceral, raw and autobiographical, Whitehead writes of an Indigenous body in pain, coping with trauma. Deeply rooted within, he reaches across the anguish to create a new form of storytelling he calls "biostory"--beyond genre, and entirely sovereign. Through this narrative perspective, Making Love with the Land recasts mental health struggles and our complex emotional landscapes from a nefarious parasite on his (and our) well-being to kin, even a relation, no matter what difficulties they present to us. Whitehead ruminates on loss and pain without shame or ridicule but rather highlights waypoints for personal transformation. Written in the aftermath of heartbreak, before and during the pandemic, Making Love with the Land illuminates this present moment in which both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are rediscovering old ways and creating new ones about connection with and responsibility toward each other and the land.
Intellectually audacious and emotionally compelling, Whitehead shares his devotion to the world in which we live and brilliantly--even joyfully--maps his experience on the land that has shaped stories, histories, and bodies from time immemorial.