Bursting beyond the confines of legibility and the individual, Canisia Lubrin summons up oceans, languages, and the self, the other, and the first-person plural, into a generous baroque project of anti-colonial plenitude.
Canisia Lubrin is the author of two critically acclaimed collections of poetry: Voodoo Hypothesis (2017) and The Dyzgraphxst (2020). Voodoo Hypothesis, a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award (2018), is a wildly ambitious work of speculative poetics, brilliantly combining physics, philosophy, and pop culture. The book investigates, with a steady eye and deep moral seriousness, state-sanctioned violence against Black individuals and cultures—all while remaining rooted in a vision of Black diasporic aesthetics and imagination. The Dyzgraphxst continues Lubrin’s exploration of Black history and Black futurities. A single long poem that is organized into seven acts or movements, the book feels private in gesture and grand in scale, offering a piercing examination of selfhood and the forces that threaten it: “I was not myself,” a speaker worries, “I am not myself. My self resembles something having nothing to do with me.” Born and raised in Saint Lucia, Lubrin studied in Canada, completing a BA at York University and an MFA at the University of Guelph. She teaches creative writing at OCAD University and poetry at the University of Toronto. She is also incoming poetry editor at the literary press McClelland & Stewart and has been a Writer in Residence for Queen’s University and for Poetry In Voice, an organization that sends poets into secondary school classrooms. She lives in Whitby.
What to make of this profoundly reassuring way to be utterly stunned into intensifying an old love? It is impossible to express what this extraordinary encouragement means, what being in such company during such a catastrophic time, will make possible. This invitation to trust even more deeply, the potential of the not-yet-written is transformative; and thanks to the Windham-Campbell Prize, I will face the world and these alphabets tomorrow and the day after with renewed vigor.CANISIA LUBRIN