From the slave ship Zong to the Japanese steamship Komagata Maru, two experimental poets draw on legal papers and ship records as they raise spirits from the sea
June 23, 2016
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In this special New York appearance, experimental Canadian poets M. NourbeSe Philip and Phinder Dulai reach into archives of tragedies at sea.
One of many terrors of the Middle Passage, the 1781 Zong Massacre involved the captain of the slave ship Zong throwing 133 enslaved Africans over to collect insurance money. Tobago-born, Toronto-based lawyer-turned-poet M. NourbeSe Philip calls on the massacre in this reading of Zong!, Philip’s 2008 poetry collection that destroys and reassembles legal papers of the Zong Massacre. In 1914, a Japanese steamship docked in Vancouver carrying 376 Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu migrants who had set sail from Punjab, India. All were British colonial subjects. All were denied entry to Canada. Vancouver-based Punjabi poet Phinder Dulai draws from this historical moment while reading from the 2014 poetry collection dream / arteries. As M. NourbeSe Philip notes in discussion with Dulai, “I think that what we are faced with today in terms of the ocean being this dumping ground is directly and not-so-directly linked to these very systems that brought people across these oceans.” Raise what is long-gone/still-present with Philip and Dulai in this week’s featured AAWW TV playlist.
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