Inventory

Overview

In Dionne Brand’s incantatory, deeply engaged, beautifully crafted long poem, the question is asked, What would an inventory of the tumultuous early years of this new century have to account for? Alert to the upheavals that mark those years, Brand bears powerful witness to the seemingly unending wars, the ascendance of fundamentalisms, the nameless casualties that bloom out from near and distant streets. An inventory in form and substance, Brand’s poem reckons with the revolutionary songs left to fragment, the ...
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Overview

In Dionne Brand’s incantatory, deeply engaged, beautifully crafted long poem, the question is asked, What would an inventory of the tumultuous early years of this new century have to account for? Alert to the upheavals that mark those years, Brand bears powerful witness to the seemingly unending wars, the ascendance of fundamentalisms, the nameless casualties that bloom out from near and distant streets. An inventory in form and substance, Brand’s poem reckons with the revolutionary songs left to fragment, the postmodern cities drowned and blistering, the devastation flickering across TV screens grown rhythmic and predictable. Inventory is an urgent and burning lamentation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Inventory is damning without being superior, sorrowful without falling into self-pity, joyful without becoming naive. . . . Thought-provoking. . . .What makes Inventory even more powerful, and hard to put down, is Brand’s willingness to match the strength of these desolate lists with a strength of music, dream and intimate feeling.”
Globe and Mail

“You don’t read Dionne Brand, you hear her.”
Toronto Life
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780771016622
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Dionne Brand is a poet and novelist living in Toronto. Her nine volumes of poetry include Land to Light On, winner of the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Book Award in 1997; thirsty, winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize; and, most recently, Inventory, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Dionne Brand’s most recent novel, What We All Long For, was published to great acclaim in Canada and Italy in 2005, and won the Toronto Book Award. In 2006, she was awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize.
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Read an Excerpt

II

Observed over Miami, the city, an orange slick blister,
the houses, stiff-­haired organisms clamped to the earth,
engorged with oil and wheat,
rubber and metals,
the total contents of the brain, the electrical regions of the atmosphere, water

coming north, reeling, a neurosis of hinged clouds,
bodies thicken, flesh

out in immodest health,
six boys, fast food on their breath,
luscious paper bags, the perfume of grilled offal,
troughlike cartons of cola,
a gorgon luxury of electronics, backward caps,
bulbous clothing, easy hearts

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lines of visitors are fingerprinted,
eye-­scanned, grow murderous,
then there’s the business of thoughts who can glean with any certainty,
the guards, blued and leathered, multiply to stop them,
palimpsests of old borders, the sea’s graph on the skin,
the dead giveaway of tongues,
soon, soon, the implants to discern lies

from the way a body moves

there’s that already

she felt ill, wanted to murder the six boys, the guards,
the dreamless shipwrecked burning their beautiful eyes in the patient queue

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Let’s go to the republic of home,
let’s forget all this then, this victorious procession,
these blenching queues,
this timeless march of nails in shoeless feet

what people will take and give,
the passive lines, the passive guards,
if passivity can be inchoate self-­loathing

all around, and creeping

self-­righteous, let’s say it, fascism,
how else to say, border,
and the militant consumption of everything,
the encampment of the airport, the eagerness to be all the same, to mince biographies to some exact phrases, some exact and toxic genealogy

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