Land to Light On

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Land to Light On opens onto the landscape of Canada. “Out here I am…not even safe as the sea,” she writes. “If I am peaceful…is not peace,/is getting used to harm.” Brand writes about a place where she is an outsider – as any poet or painter must be – and also about the many outsiders who have come here and settled over the years, uncomfortable with the land and its people, uncomfortable sometimes with themselves.

No one writes about this country like Brand, free of post-colonial cant yet selvedged with Black suffering in the Americas. Speaking of memory but without a longing for the past, these poems hover between story and song; between groundings of life, wherever your landfall, and the grace of love and light. They ring with a poet’s hesitations, a woman’s praise and prayer for her people and their place. “It always takes long to come to what you have to say, you have to/sweep this stretch of land up around your feet and point to the/signs, pleat whole histories with pins in your mouth and guess/at the fall of words.”

PRAISE FOR

“As behind most of our human celebrations, there are tragedies being played out behind the curtain of joy, for Brand is well aware of the world’s longings and despairs, how we are all the offspring of slaves, and/or – what is so much harder to bear – the offspring of slave owners.”
Quill & Quire

“Brand’s distinguished voice and articulate vision situate her galaxies beyond most contemporary practitioners of poetry.”
Globe and Mail

“Brand’s poetry is confrontational/confessionalism. She uses her life experiences to talk about oppression of many sorts in the Caribbean and Canada. She attempts to find links between different kinds of oppression – and that is the strength of her work. It is multilayered. There may be a nihilist tendency – but it is justified.”
–George Elliott Clarke

“You don’t read Dionne Brand, you hear her.”
Toronto Life