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Canisia Lubrin : Code Noir

Award-winning poet Canisia Lubrin talks about her debut fiction, Code Noir. The fifty-nine stories in this collection are each prefaced by one of Louis XIV’s fifty-nine “Black codes,” the rules of conduct in France and its colonies regarding slaves and slavery. And each of these codes, each of these edicts, is also engaged with, manipulated and remade by the abstract artist Torkwase Dyson. Together they unmake history, unmake the edicts, one in language and one with a brush. Canisia tells stories that are as short as a line, or told in footnotes, or that take place one thousand years in the future. Stories that remake other stories, and stories that aren’t stories at all. And ultimately, through storytelling, Canisia asks us how we place ourselves in relation to the stories we’ve inherited, the histories which themselves are fictions, and in the ways she herself does and doesn’t engage with the codes, she enacts a different way of living, sounding a future for Black life.

For the bonus audio archive Canisia reads from Dionne Brand’s upcoming book Salvage: Readings from the Wreck, from Christina Sharpe’s remarkable “What Could a Vessel Be?” and more that I will leave as surprise. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the many other potential benefits of joining the Between the Covers community as a listener-supporter head over to the show’s Patreon page.

Finally here is today’s BookShop.