Halifax’s former Poet Laureate Afua Cooper and photographer Wilfried Raussert collaborate in this book of poems and photographs focused on everyday Black experiences. The result is a jambalaya — a dialogue between image and text. Cooper translates Raussert’s photos into poetry, painting a profound image of what disembodied historical facts might look like when they are embodied in contemporary characters. This visual and textual conversation honours the multiple layers of Blackness in the African diaspora around North America and Europe. The result is a work that amplifies black beauty and offers audible resistance.
About the authors
Afua Cooper's doctoral dissertation on Henry Bibb is a pioneering work on the life of the 19th-century abolitionist. She teaches African-Canadian history at the University of Toronto and is co-author of "We're Rooted Here and They Can't Pull Us Up": Essays in African Canadian Women's History (University of Toronto Press, 1994). In February 2002, Afua curated "A Glimpse of Black Life in Victorian Toronto: 1850-1860" for the City of Toronto Museum Division. An award-winning poet, her fifth book of poetry, Copper Woman and Other Poems, is being published by Natural Heritage in the spring of 2006. Her most recent book is The Hanging Of Angelique: Canada, Slavery and the Burning of Montreal, published by HarperCollins Canada in January 2006.
Dr. Wilfried Raussert is a multidisciplinary artist and scholar. He works across the boundaries of music, literature, photography, art, and literary criticism. He is Chair of North American and Inter-American Studies at Bielefeld University, Germany. He is director of the International Association of InterAmerican Studies, author and editor of 20 scholarly books, including Art Begins in Streets Art Lives in Streets, Cultural Memory and Multiple Identities, and Traveling Sounds: Music, Migration and Identity in the U.S. and Beyond.
- Short-listed, APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award
- Long-listed, Pat Lowther Memorial Award
- Winner, J.M. Abraham Poetry Award
- Winner, Portia White Prize
“This artful text is the emphatic means by which Afua Cooper and Wilfried Raussert arrive at this historical moment. Crafted on an anvil of brilliant collaboration in the wild and overlapping histories of the modern world, the marks of Black life are revealed everywhere. This far-seeing work is a beautiful visual object that imagines us beyond the narrow spaces of coloniality. Black Matters intervenes at every turn.”
Canisia Lubrin, author of The Dyzgraphxst and Voodoo Hypothesis
“If Black lives matter, what sort of matter is Blackness? To address this question, Afua Cooper and Wilfried Raussert bring vision and text together. In this beautifully sculpted book they stretch the skein of Blackness around grief, love, strength, persistence and revelation.”
Robbie Shilliam, author of Decolonizing Politics and The Black Pacific
“How fortunate we are to have the record of this collaborative generosity and what a potent and timely conversation to be having. This is the agility of art: extending back into history with the vitality of a future fortified by dignity while remaining firmly rooted in the present. What combusts is inspiration — the sustainability of art in practice and how it makes sense of this time we’ve been brought together in. I’m so grateful for the contribution this book will make, the poignant energy it is composing for the living archive we’re making as we go.”
Sue Goyette, Halifax Poet Laureate and author of Ocean
Other titles by Afua Cooper
The Halifax Explosion
6 December 1917 at 9:05 in the Morning
The Underground Railroad
Next Stop, Toronto!
Black Writers Matter
Dear Canada: Hoping for Home
Stories of Arrival
Cher Journal : Terre d'accueil, terre d'espoir
The Hanging Of Angelique
The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal
My Name Is Phillis Wheatley
A Story of Slavery and Freedom
My Name Is Henry Bibb
A Story of Slavery and Freedom
And Other Poems