How she read

Chantal Gibson

copyright ©2019


Oh, how she read this. Girl
beloved daughter of daughters
blood, kin, and kind

sagacious grammarian
post-fly phoneticist

every syllable she say be sapphires

Oh, how she read that Girl
beloved daughter of daughters
blood, kin, and kind

sassy semiotician
post-def decoder

every book she crack parts oceans,
sends waves rushing back to their shores

every page she turn sets free a caged bird,
whose wings are spread and ready for flight

Oh, how she read, this Girl
beloved daughter of daughters
blood, kin, and kind,

post-dope dissenter
mos-bomb seditionist

every word she speak be a teeth-sucking act of resistance

every word she write be a battle cry

every tap of her pen be the beat of an ancestor’s drum

Notes on the Poem

Our Poem of the Week is from How She Read by 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize Canadian shortlisted poet, Chantal Gibson. Of the collection, the judges said: “Chantal Gibson invites scrutiny of where language maps, or fails to map, the quiddity of the world. Here the English language carries and transmits the burden of its service to the imperial ‘adventure’, in schoolbooks, in literature, in historical artifacts and through image and portraiture in paint and photograph. Her interanimation of the visual and the verbal energises a private mark-making, a resistance poetry to the coded, at times subliminal, oppressions of history. To detox the soul then, to be free and creative as citizens, we deserve to read each mark with schooled attention. And trust in our own mark making, our right to speak it the way we see it. This is a fabulous primer, ludic and ferocious, in the grand tradition of liberation handbooks.” We also invite you to check out Gibson’s new book With/holding, now out with Caitlin Press here!

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