Well, it’s poetry month…a look at dub

The catalogue of Women’s Press has a number of different strains of poetry, and for this, the most versified month, I’d like to walk you through them:

First, and most prominent in our list is the dub and spoken word forms, so rich in Toronto, coming from the hip, lounge-, club- and bar-stages around town. Represented in poets Lillian Allen, Motion, and d’bi young, this form uses:

“an overtly political and social nature, with none of the braggadocio often associated with the dancehall. The odd love-song or elegy appears, but dub poetry is predominantly concerned with politics and social justice, commonly voiced through a commentary on current events (thus sharing these elements with Dancehall and “Conscious” or “Roots” reggae music)” –that’s from Wikipedia’s article

Here’s a poem by Lillian Allen that shows the printed form of dub, its rich power and message:

Liberation

You speak as if my liberation
is a one-way fare
you act as if my liberation
is some ill retreat
with naked bodies
and wooden dolls
well try to take your hand from your blinded eyes

You say I should not try to undo
the image you hold of me
does it shake your world when I start to undo
your image of what I should do
the aged myths in which you have hidden me
it’s time to take your hand from your blinded eyes

My friend, my liberation
didn’t come from my imagining
my friend, my liberation
didn’t come from chasing dreams
there was hunger silence sweat
it’s time to take your hand from your blinded eyes

All I am declaring
is that I have the same right
to be myself as you do
colour my own image as you do
yes I have the same right
to live for myself as you do
to find my way as you do
to make mistakes as you do
yes I have the same right

From Women Do This Every Day

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