Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Art of Resurrection

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The Art of Resurrection

The Spring must be the cause that my writing has suddenly become obsessed with questions of the body and soul, the spirit we carry with us. The way I see poetry has been through a kind of defrosted lens these days as well: as an antidote to apathy, way of reading silently loud, so that you can feel the pages turn inside you, be a religion without being religious.

I tend to see the time of Easter as a particularly poetic time of year, and not just because the flowers are in bloom again. More precisely, it is a time to truly reflect upon the meaning of resurrection in its many iterations. There are many types of resurrection, I think, not just the one many of us might associate in biblical terms. One way I like to bring the term into relevance here is in the sense of a renewal of interest in one’s capacity to create, a willingness to make change, meditate more, resolve to become greater than what one was (in whichever way makes sense).

What poetry does is akin to the work of resurrection, in that it employs the power of metaphor, and metaphor is a kind of resurrection: when one thing can stand in for another—to say, for example, the moon is a white flame. Metaphor is one of the essences of poetic creation, and so the “identity” of that creation thus lies in its metaphorical potential, its infinite range of meaning. So the moon can be more than one thing; it can transform into something different from itself, and take on an infinite range of meaning. The moon believes itself as a flame and not just as similar to one. And to take that leap in the ways of seeing things is to employ a kind of faith in the possibility of resurrection. The moon resurrects into flame.

Maybe I’m getting off tangent here, so in simpler terms I will say this—the act of creating something for good or to inspire others using the creative medium is proof that magic abounds in this world, and this magic might emerge from the simplest of things to later, upon reflection, mimic a more heavenly order. And for the writers out there—is it not true that when you complete a piece of writing you’re enamored with, a sense of levitation occurs? Do you not enter into the epiphanic?

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Adebe DeRango-Adem

Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been published in various North American sources, including Descant, CV2, Canadian Woman Studies and the Toronto Star. She won the Toronto Poetry Competition in 2005 to become Toronto’s first Junior Poet Laureate. Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo, was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. She is also the co-editor, alongside Andrea Thompson, of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out. She was recommended by current Poet Laureate of Canada George Elliott Clarke as a young black "writer to watch".

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