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Poetry Canadian

Wires that Sputter


by (author) Britta Badour

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Canadian, Women Authors, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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A powerful debut collection from an award-winning artist, public speaker, and poet.

Trillium Book Award for Poetry, Finalist
Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Shortlist
Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Shortlist
Raymond Souster Award, Longlist

With propulsive, intimate stylings and an eye toward Black liberations, pop culture, sports, and familial fractures, Wires that Sputter meets the world with the posture of a portraitist and the deftness of a poet-as-acrobat, as seeker. Here in these wondrous poems is an attentiveness toward that which harrows as well as that which heals, toward the power of space-giving and fragmentation. Rupture and recovery, tribute and tribulation, a revivifying musicality, and room to breathe—all dapple these pages, where electricity manifests in every line.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Britta Badour, better known as Britta B., is an award-winning artist, public speaker, and poet living in Toronto. She is the recipient of the Breakthrough Artist Award (Toronto Arts Foundation, 2021) and Lecturer of the Year (COCA, 2021). Britta holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph and teaches spoken word performance at Seneca College.

Excerpt: Wires that Sputter: Poems (by (author) Britta Badour)

: Wires That Sputter :

: listening for sirens : flashbacks : you split net fluently : you don’t live with any bookshelves : you don’t school with any kids you look like : but you understand poor punctuation : you’ve never seen idioms in your image : out of what twisted music you were pushed : what rattles and ricochets : as necessary as what breathes one hard unaltered spark : there’s an atlas you deserve and their hardcover yawn won’t fit you

: you get splittability : enjambment is your armour : is freedom : what questions and cusses : what carols you catapult : to a blank page : the possession you resist : whipped : bounced : the golden bed of your ether : namelessness listening : is there

Editorial Reviews

Trillium Book Award for Poetry, Finalist
Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, Shortlist
Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Shortlist
Raymond Souster Award, Longlist
"The musicality in Britta Badour's Wires That Sputter is immediately evident. Each poem is riveting, commanding an attention as you hang on to every word. Badour's sense of voice and rhythm is assured in poems on Blackness, place, famillial ties, and more."
—Pat Lowther Memorial Award Jury

"As the title suggests, Wires That Sputter is a collection with a voice that electrifies, a voice that breathes off the page. Beautiful, spacious, and at times, delicate, these poems play into space and sound. There is a precise yet free musicality and movement in these pages that makes this book a true pleasure to read. Family history, the minutiae of daily living, Black liberation, love—these subjects and more join together in the seamless synchronicity of an attentive gaze."
—Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Jury

Wires that Sputter delivers on the promised electricity with syntax that flashes like lightning and interrupts like good thunder. Through Britta Badour’s words runs a language as shocking and new as what Franklin found when he casted that key into the sky. An inventor in her own right, Badour’s debut buzzes with the freeness of jazz and the attitude of a boombox.”
—Danez Smith, author of Homie

“In Wires that Sputter Britta Badour proves herself to be a poet unafraid to risk, unafraid to push the english language to its buoyant, confounding and sonically pleasurable limits. These poems testify to Britta’s faith in poetry as a mechanism for expansiveness, where the tensions between the spoken and unspoken, the revealed truth and the concealed (family) secret are exquisite, daring and capacious.”
—Brandon Wint, author of Divine Animal

“Britta Badour uses the page as a canvas, sheet music. Poems that feel like songs. The collection invites readers to dance, light fires, and unlock the homes we are made of.”
—Ian Keteku, former World Poetry Slam champion and author of Black Abacus

“[Britta Badour's] incisive look at the world invites us into her reality: on the court, the belligerent streets of Kingston, in the classrooms she grows up in, all the way through bedrooms and kitchens to the classrooms she teaches in, too. We gain a familiarity with the body as a vessel, canvas, and kingdom for discovery and safety of the self.”
—Nisha Patel, Poet Laureate Emeritus of the City of Edmonton

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