Here are some fun facts for you: March was National Nutrition Month, April is National Food Month, and according to the Islamic calendar (which is lunar, so the months shift along the Gregorian calendar), April is also going to be Ramadan!
As a quick primer, Ramadan is an Islamic holy month best known for being the time in which Muslims fast from sun-up to sun-down. Yup, we don’t even drink water. But don’t be alarmed! We don’t avoid food and drink entirely; our meals just happen at a specific time. We have the suhoor, a pre-dawn meal to help us through the day, and the iftar, a post sunset meal to recover!
I was thinking about February, the month of love, chocolate, and honouring the history, contributions, and future of Black folks in our country, and I figured it would be a great time to feature poetry by Black writers.
(My thought process was Valentine’s Day > Love > Poetry. Hence the somewhat pun-y title, because I couldn’t resist.)
I never used to be big on reading poetry—sometimes poems (especially those assigned in school) felt a bit too esoteric or plain baffling for my taste, especially when coupled with assignments to demonstrate what the poems might be saying. But the more I read, the more I slowly fell in love with it, and even began trying my hand at writing my own poetry, some of which I’m quite proud of.
Who knows, one day I might publish a poetry collection and join the ranks of these vaunted writers. In the meantime though, I can recommend a few reads. The following is a small collection of great poetry by Black authors that you can find in our catalogue, featuring excerpts of their poems when available. I find there’s no greater hook for a reader of poetry than the content, which often resonates better than any blurb or synopsis could.
The theme of this year’s Black History Month is February and Forever. This month, we are invited to not only remember and celebrate the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities, but also their contributions in the here and now, which enrich the multithreaded tapestry of our country. I thought this would be a great opportunity to list some recent and current works by Black Canadian authors, all of which you can borrow from VPL!
The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole
Desmond Cole shatters the assumptions that Canada is a post-racist nation by chronicling the events of a single year (2017), which was also Canada’s 150th as a country. It was a time of, among other things, calls for borders to be tightened against Black refugees from the States crossing through Manitoba, Indigenous peoples fighting for land and water protection against invasive and damaging pipelines, and police rallying around an officer accused of murder.