CBCBooks on  Twitter CBCBooks on Facebook

Canada Reads Poetry: Inventory by Dionne Brand

Inventory by Dionne Brand

Canada Reads Poetry is a three-week online initiative presented by CBC Books and the National Post. Inspired by the original Canada Reads format, Canada Reads Poetry features five panelists defending five collections of poetry. That's where the similarities end; while Canada Reads plays out on-air, Canada Reads Poetry plays out online.

Canada Reads Poetry is underway and CBC Books and the National Post are bringing you closer looks at each collection, one blog post at a time. Today, we turn to Inventory by Dionne Brand. It's books blogger and poet George Murray's choice for Canada Reads Poetry.

Dionne Brand is one of Canada's most prolific and influential poets. Inventory is a book-length poem in which she reflects on the state of the world at the turn of the millennium. She writes of the invasion of Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, and other disturbing events. But she also tries to pay tribute to the sweeter things in life.

Garvia Bailey, host of CBC's Big City, Small World, reads an excerpt from Inventory in the video below.

Dionne Brand

Born in Guayguayare, Trinidad, Dionne Brand moved to Canada at the age of 17 to pursue studies in English and Philosophy at the University of Toronto. Although she first gained recognition as a poet, Brand has also published fiction, essays and other writings, including a collection of oral histories of black women in Ontario.

Brand's poetry is both probingly political and deeply personal, and is marked by its experiments with language and form as she explores themes of gender, race and sexuality. Her latest work, Ossuaries, which is a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize, is a book-length meditation on ideals and the changing political climate, set against the backdrop of recent crises.

Brand has won the Governor General's Award and the Pat Lowther Award for poetry. In 2009, she was named the poet laureate of Toronto. She is also a professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.


Tomorrow we'll feature an interview Eleanor Wachtel did with Dionne Brand about Inventory on The Arts Tonight, shortly after the book was first published in 2006.

In the meantime, visit The National Post's books blog, The Afterword, to check out the essay George Murray, books blogger and poet, wrote to explain why he chose Inventory for Canada Reads Poetry. 

Inventory © 2006 by Dionne Brand. Published by McClelland & Stewart Ltd. Used with permission of the author and the publisher.

Comments are closed.