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Dionne Brand : Nomenclature — New and Collected Poems

Today’s guest Dionne Brand, to borrow the words of John Keene, “is without question one of the major living poets in the English language. Kamau Brathwaite called Brand our first major exile female poet. Adrienne Rich described her as “a cultural critic of uncompromising courage, an artist in language and ideas, and an intellectual conscience for her country.” Dionne Brand is, as well, a celebrated and beloved novelist, essayist, filmmaker, editor, activist, and thinker. But today, with the release of the landmark work Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems, which gathers eight volumes of her poetry between 1982 and 2010, and includes a new book-length poem never before published, today we center her poetry, and look at why she considers herself a poet first and foremost. What does stepping back together, and looking at her body of work across the decades, tell us about her poetry over time? How is time itself related to her deep engagement with Black life and liberation in her writing? How does Brand employ language as a means to gesture toward an otherwise, an elsewhere, in order to both write toward a future and from a future time?

For the bonus audio archive Dionne Brand contributes readings from two of the most-anticipated releases of 2023, a reading from poet Canisia Lubrin’s fiction debut Code Noir and a reading from Christina Sharpe’s Ordinary Notes. This joins a robust archive of supplemental material from Nikky Finney reading from Lorraine Hansberry’s diaries to Myriam Chancy reading and teaching from a passage of Jamaica Kincaid’s to a craft talk on the art of narrative seduction by Marlon James. To learn how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the 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.