Dionne Brand’s hypnotic, urgent long poem – her first book of poetry in four years, is about the bones of fading cultures and ideas, about the living museums of spectacle where these bones are found. At the centre of Ossuaries is the narrative of Yasmine, a woman living an underground life, fleeing from past actions and regrets, in a perpetual state of movement. She leads a solitary clandestine life, crossing borders actual (Algiers, Cuba, Canada), and timeless. Cold-eyed and cynical, she contemplates the periodic crises of the contemporary world. This is a work of deep engagement, sensuality, and ultimate craft from an essential observer of our time and one of the most accomplished poets writing today.
Dionne Brand is a multi-award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist. Her ten volumes of poetry include Land to Light On, winner of the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Book Award; thirsty, winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize; Inventory, a finalist for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Governor General’s Award; and, most recently, Ossuaries. Her most recent novel, What We All Long For, was published to great acclaim in Canada and Italy in 2005, and won the Toronto Book Award.
In 2006, Brand was awarded the prestigious Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the world of books and writing, and, in 2009, she was named Toronto’s Poet Laureate. In addition to her literary accomplishments, Brand is Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. She lives in Toronto.
Praise for Dionne Brand:
"[Brand] makes music and sense of our complex age."
— Jury citation, Governor General's Award
"Brand's luscious and ferocious lines go beyond a critique of dystopian realities to construct, in themselves, in their keen, lyric intelligence, an oasis of truth, compassion, and sensuality."
— Jury Citation, Griffin Poetry Prize
"[Inventory] shows there's no better chronicler of the ache in our body politic…. In the face of the desensitization that comes with a steady diet of the passing horrors contained in the daily news, Inventory is a kind of re-sensitization: lyrically compelling, impassioned and stirring."
— Toronto Star
"Inventory is damning without being superior, sorrowful without falling into self-pity, joyful without becoming naïve…. Inventory is thought-provoking enough with these nuances of rage, despair, guilt. What makes it even more powerful, and hard to put down, is Brand's willingness to match the strength of these desolate lists with a strength of music, dream and intimate feeling."
— Globe and Mail
"You don't read Dionne Brand, you hear her."
— Toronto Life