Video highlight clips: M. NourbeSe Philip performs a portion of her long poem Zong! | M. NourbeSe Philip performs from Zong!, assisted by the audience
"Philip’s heroism, which emerges as a radical disavowal of the heroic, consists in a deep and fatal sounding. She descends into a place from which neither return nor recovery are possible....The one who dives, who falls, into the wreckage of the shipped cannot come back for or as or by herself; but there is a frayed, refrained remainder that is more than both the reality and the dream of subjectivity. What remains is more than incalculable loss."
—Fred Moten, from "Blackness and Poetry," on M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong!
Owing to a generous gift from the Leslie Scalapino-O Books Fund, The Poetry Center very happily presents renowned poet, essayist, novelist and dramatist M. NourbeSe Philip, appearing as the first featured writer in our newly-launched Leslie Scalapino 21st Century Innovative Writers Series. Ms. Philip reads and performs from her renowned work, Zong!, in the 3rd Floor loft space at McRoskey Mattress Co., on Market Street (at Gough), and respond to questions from the audience. This event is co-sponsored by The Poetry Center and The Green Arcade, and is free and open to the public.
M. NourbeSe Philip is an unembedded poet, essayist, novelist and playwright who lives in the space-time of the City of Toronto. She practised law in the City of Toronto for seven years before becoming a poet and writer. She has published four books of poetry including the seminal She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (reissued recently in the US by Wesleyan University Press), one novel and four collections of essays. Her book-length poem, Zong! (Wesleyan, 2011), is a conceptually innovative, genre-breaking epic, which explodes the legal archive as it relates to slavery. Her most recent work is BlanK (Bookthug, 2018), a collection of essays on racism and culture. Philip is recognized, in light of her polyvalent, polyvocal work, as a crucial poet of our collective history and our shared present time.
After earning a BSc from the University of the West Indies and an MA and LLB from the University of Western Ontario, Philip was a practicing lawyer for seven years before turning full-time to writing. She is the author of works of poetry, fiction, drama, and nonfiction, and is the recipient of awards from the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Counci, as well as the Pushcart Prize (USA, 1981), the Casa de las Americas Prize (Cuba, 1988), the Lawrence Foundation Prize (USA, 1994), and the Arts Foundation of Toronto Writing and Publishing Award (Toronto,1995), Dora Award finalist (drama, 1999). Her fellowships include Guggenheim (1990), McDowell (1991), and Rockefeller (Bellagio) (2005). In 2001 She is an awardee of both the YWCA Woman of Distinction (Arts) and the Elizabeth Fry Rebels for a Cause awards, and has been Writer-in-Residence at several universities and guest artist at writers' retreats.
More info at nourbese.com
On M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong!
FEATURE: Fred Moten, "Blackness and Poetry," on M. NourbeSe Philip's Zong!
VIDEO: Fred Moten and M. NourbeSe Philip. A story that cannot be told, yet must be told. Zong! and its context
VIDEO: M. NourbeSe Philip reads "Discourse on the Logic of Language" from She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks
VIDEO: M. NourbeSe Philip on Belonging, Race, Politics, and Art