Natalee Caple on the work of dub poet Lillian Allen, who 'embodies memory and future vision'
April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we're canvassing Canadian poets and asking them what Canadian poetry book has been meaningful to them.
Natalee Caple is the author of the new collection Love in the Chthulucene (Cthulhucene). In her third book of poetry, Caple touches on the conversations and issues dominating the news cycle — among them, #MeToo, climate change and political turmoil — and searches for a way forward.
A Canadian book of poetry Caple says is meaningful to her is Women Do This Every Day, a selection of poems by Lillian Allen that was published in 1993.
"Women Do This Every Day by godmother of dub, Lillian Allen, is a series of loving tributes to other women. Allen's work embodies memory and future vision, she treats the body as instrument and in that way what happens to people can be sung. The separation between the personal, the political and the aesthetic never happens in these poems, that emphasize voice as an assertion of the right to live and to speak life. In conversation about teaching writing Allen once told me (I paraphrase here) we don't teach students to be writers; we teach them to be people who write."