Word Vancouver: Poetry for the Future
These three poets draw our attention to the questions we should be asking ourselves about the world we would want to be living in, as well as sharing
These three poets draw our attention to the questions we should be asking ourselves about the world we would want to be living in, as well as sharing the hard realities of the present in order to imagine a poetic future.
Moderated by Angela Rebrec.
- barangay: an offshore poem by Adrian De Leon
- How She Read by Chantal Gibson
- Coconut by Nisha Patel
barangay: an offshore poem
As beautiful and varied as an archipelago, barangay is an elegant new collection of poetry from Adrian De Leon that gathers in and arranges the difficult pieces of a scattered history. While mourning the loss of his grandmother who “lived, loved and grieved in three languages,” De Leon skips his barangay, which is both a boat and an administrative unit in the Philippine government, over the history of both his family and a nation. In these poems De Leon considers the deadly impact of colonialism, the far-reaching effects of the diaspora from the Philippines and the personal loss of his ability to speak Ilokano, his grandmother’s native tongue. These are spare, haunting poems, which wash over the reader like the waves of the ocean the barangays navigated long ago and then pull the reader into their current like the rivers De Leon left behind.
How She Read
How She Read is a collection of genre-blurring poems about the representation of Black women, their hearts, minds and bodies, across the Canadian cultural imagination.
Drawing from grade-school vocabulary spellers, literature, history, art, media and pop culture, Chantal Gibson’s sassy semiotics highlight the depth and duration of the imperialist ideas embedded in everyday things, from storybooks to coloured pencils, from paintings to postage stamps.
A mediation on motherhood and daughterhood, belonging, loss and recovery, the collection weaves the voices of Black women, past and present. As Gibson dismantles the grammar of her Queen Elizabeth English, sister scholars talk back, whisper, suck teeth, curse and carry on from canonized texts, photographs and art gallery walls, reinterpreting their image, re-reading their bodies and claiming their space in a white, hegemonic landscape.
In her debut collection, Canadian National Slam Champion Nisha Patel commands her formidable insight and youthful, engaged voice to relay experiences of racism, sexuality, empowerment, grief, and love. These are vitally political, feminist poems for young women of colour, with bold portrayals of confession, hurt, and healing.
Coconut rises fiercely like the sun. These poems bestow light and warmth and the ability to witness the world, but they ask for more than basking; they ask readers to grow and warn that they can be burnt. Above all, Nisha Patel’s work questions and challenges propriety and what it means to be a good woman, second-generation immigrant, daughter, consumer, and lover.
In Partnership with Word Vancouver
(Thursday) 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm