From The Dyzgraphxst

Canisia Lubrin

copyright ©2021

Here—beginning the unbeginning
owning nothing but that wounding
sense of waking to speak as I would

after the floods, then, after women unlike
Eve giving kind to the so-and-so, trying
to tell them it is time to be unnavigable,

after calling them back to what
the tongue cuts speaking the thing of
them rolled into stone

speaking I after all, after all theories
of abandonment priced and displayed,
the word was a moonlit knife

with those arrivants
lifting their hems to dance, toeless
with the footless child they invent

Notes on the Poem

Our Poem of the Week is excerpted from Canisia Lubrin's 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlisted collection, The Dyzgraphxst, a book-length lyrical poem investigating the fractured nature of the colonial subject: “I was not myself. I am not myself. My self resembles something having nothing to do with me,” Lubrin writes. Structured into seven acts, Lubrin’s extraordinary compositional feat turns historical wounds into polyvocal chants that can simultaneously hold violence and offer healing. Of the The Dyzgraphxst, the judges say: “The Dyzgraphxst is Canisia Lubrin’s spectacular feat of architecture called a poem. Built with ‘I’—a single mark on the page, a voice, a blade, ‘a life-force soaring back’—and assembled over seven acts addressing language, grammar, sentence, line, stage, and world, the poet forms, invents, surprises, and sharpens life.??Generous, generating, and an abundance of rigour. A wide and widening ocean of feeling are the blueprints of this book. It is shaped to be ‘the shape of the shape / of the shape of a thing that light curves over time / length to width to depth and all of us its information.’” Listen to Canisia Lubrin read from and discuss The Dyzgraphxst here. Read an interview on her role as Room Contest’s poetry judge here.

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