Titled after the Latin term for "unknown land"--a cartographical expression referring to regions that have not yet been mapped or documented--Terra Incognita is a collection of poems that creatively explores various racial discourses and interracial crossings buried in history's grand narratives. Set against the similarities as well as incongruities of the Canadian/American backdrop of race relations, Terra Incognita explores the cultural memory and legacy of those whose histories have been the site of erasure, and who have thus--riffing on the Heraclitus's dictum that "geography is fate"--been forced to redraw themselves into the texts of history. Finally, Terra Incognita is a collection that delves into the malleable borders of identity and questions what it means to move physically and spiritually, for our bodies to arrive and depart, our souls to relocate and change their scope.
About the author
Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been published in various North American sources, including Descant, CV2, Canadian Woman Studies and the Toronto Star. She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto's first Junior Poet Laureate. In 2008, she attended the summer writing program at Naropa University, where she mentored with Anne Waldman and the late Amiri Baraka. Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo (Frontenac House, 2010) was one of ten manuscripts chosen in honour of Frontenac House's Dektet 2010 competition, using a blind selection process by a jury of leading Canadian writers: bill bissett, George Elliott Clarke, and Alice Major. Ex Nihilo was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the world's largest prize for writers under thirty. She is also the co-editor, alongside Andrea Thompson, of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out (Inanna Publications, 2010).
"There is a true poet at work here, and there is a rare fineness of feeling on display in these poems. A delightful gathering by an exciting new voice."--Lorna Goodison"Adebe DeRango-Adem knows the fire on water that was the slave trade, and names--has got to name--the bloody acts and ruddy facts of history's oppressors. The "Terra Incognita" that she explores? Slave cemeteries, African villages, Canadian locales of snow-job erasures and razings. Here's a poetry that unveils unspeakable histories and unspoken hardships. It is Yeatsean jazz, Nietzschian blues--transformative and best read with both eyes wide open, eh?"--George Elliott Clarke"Adebe DeRango-Adem's poems blend a reverential tone of prayer with the maroon, insurgent spirit of Louverture. DeRango-Adem speaks with the force that would undo centuries of racial injustice and the gentle grace that looks first for forgiveness and familial embrace. These verses document bodies that texts have left unmapped, bodies whose "blood lines are a mix / of what has been washed away / and what was once considered a stain." Enter into adebe d.a's startlingly kind, "bastardette" vision, where "all the angels of history / are half-caste.""--Sonnet L'Abbé"Terra Incognita is a breath-taking lyrical travelogue into the mythical terrain of post-race. In this timely collection, DeRango-Adem laments the incomplete mapping of our contemporary racial topography and charts a new horizon with poems that seduce as they elucidate. Her verses explore the complex landscapes of identity and tensions between memory and meaning. An important collection from an extraordinary poet, Terra Incognita takes us on a journey to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a human-being in the twenty-first century."--Andrea Thompson"Terra Incognita gives urgent voice to the difficult grace of multiplicity. Adebe DeRango-Adem writes through waves of angelic intransigence, her stained verse-light submerged in the stormy waters of an inability to forget."--Charles Bernstein