10 - White Album by Rishma Dunlop Oct 25, 2008 16:24:30 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Oct 25, 2008 16:24:30 GMT 2
Cover Art by Suzanne Northcott
White Album charts the life of a young woman born in India in the late 1950s and growing up in Canada during an era of explosive change, both political and cultural. Set to some of the most popular and revolutionary music of the last half-century, White Album explores how the white noise of history--the chanting crowds, the gunshots, the guitar feedback--soundtracks the formation of a sense of self. Rishma Dunlop's luminous poems present a moving memoir about what it means to live in an increasingly fractured and precarious, postcolonial world. The book resonates with the sounds of global music, including The Beatles, jazz, rock-and-roll, soul, gospel, ghazals, and zydeco. Blurring together diverse media, White Album blends the words of award-winning poet Rishma Dunlop with the paintings of acclaimed artist Suzanne Northcott. The result is an interdisciplinary collaboration and a groundbreaking collection--a montage of brilliant images, set to a score of electric, yet lyrical language. White Album is a unique and essential work of 21st-century poetry and visual art.
What Begins Bitterly
Small talk in coffee shops.
An hour or a century clip-clops
by, fragile after argument.
Rain over the Hudson, your hair beaded with drops.
How the river accepts everything—bears away flyers
like flung bouquets. Along the walkway, joggers and dogs,
circus tent where trapeze artists fly and pitch
lessons to those who always wanted to fly.
Crepuscule sky bleeds orange, gilding the already
orange taxis gaudy. On an uptown streetcorner,
a woman wears small bones around her neck,
chatters to red-tailed hawks circling, lending
the skyscrapers living gargoyles or spreading wings
over the Park where we traversed February ice
at the pace of monks, small talk flagging
by the Gates of Christo and Jean Claude—
prayer flags the color of Buddhist robes.
We were here once, years ago.
On the windshield, rain spitting.
On the radio, Marianne Faithful spitting
Broken English. Umbilical cord dragged across
burial grounds. Sheets of sex and cigarettes.
I, too, would dress in satin for absolution.
Midnight at the Chelsea Hotel.
We came for beauty,
tongues pierced with hallelujah.
Courtyard drift of jazz. In the music playing,
every place we’ve been—
every June too. Every moment you
were, to me, that one thing
shining. In the music playing,
our living and our dying.
In this crowded room,
without moving a hand,
I touch you.
Praise for White Album:
"Bracketed by the violence of the turbulent 1960s and our current violence of terrorism and the war in Iraq, this extraordinary collection of poetry draws us into the life of a Canadian woman of Indian descent as she grows up in a hybrid world where she helps her father wrap his turban each morning and yet sings along with him to An English Country Garden; where she marries in a sari, yet grooves to Motown and irons her hair to look like Ali McGraw in Love Story. The collection is also luminously inflected with loss--the death of her father, the loss of her innocence, the loss of her daughters as they take up their own trajectories. Rishma Dunlop's work, in the vein of writers like Wayson Choy and Judy Fong Bates, documents the life of those who were multicultural when Canada was overwhelmingly white and Anglo-Saxon. White Album speaks for that silent generation. In her poetry, Dunlop brings such a knife-like precision of language, such a concentrated clarity of image, to the life documented that it remains seared indelibly into our minds.
--Shyam Selvadurai, author of Funny Boy
"White Album offers the impossible and necessary love song of our time, reaching half-way around the world, to gather the available fragments of disparate cultures, places, times, in a passionate, dissonant, gritty, open-eyed embrace. The lush interplay of image and text adds shivery, contrapuntal textures to this pleasurable read.
--Di Brandt, author of Now Your Care
"Each lucid image shines in Rishma Dunlop's fourth book of poems, White Album. Sometimes mournful, sometimes full of sass, her poems come marbled with song lyrics, and blended both with memories of a suburban girl's coming of age and coming to grips with her heritage. Dunlop achieves her crystalline power by directing a bright white light on all her manifold subjects. Here is a poet who, with muscle, grace, and even a discography, fearlessly focuses on the contradictions of her time."
─Molly Peacock, author of Second Blush
Poetry by Rishma Dunlop / Paintings by Suzanne Northcott
Thursday November 13th, 2008
Opening 6-9pm * Show continues through Nov 22nd
About the author:
Winner of the Emily Dickinson prize for poetry in 2003, Rishma Dunlop is a Canadian poet, playwright, essayist, and fiction writer. She is the author of four books of poetry, White Album (Inanna Publications, 2008), Metropolis (Mansfield Press, 2005), Reading Like a Girl (Black Moss Press, 2004), and The Body of My Garden (Mansfield Press, 2002). Books as editor include: White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood (Demeter Press, 2007) and Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Canadian Women Poets (Mansfield Press, 2004). Her radio drama, "The Raj Kumari's Lullaby," was commissioned and produced by CBC Radio in 2005. Her poems have appeared in international anthologies and journals including Blackbird, Literary Review of Canada, CV2, Canadian Literature, Descant, Event, Grain, Room of One¡¯s Own, The Comstock Review, Poeisis, and Literator. She is a professor in the Faculty of Education and the Department of English at York University, Toronto, where she is Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program in English. She is founding editor of the international poetry journal Studio.
University of British Columbia Poet-In-Residence
ISBN 978-0-9808822-3-0, 75 pages, $22.95 CAD
Inanna Press: October 2008
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Inanna Press: www.yorku.ca/inanna/forth.html