Dionne Brand’s hypnotic, urgent long poem – her first book of poetry in four years, is about the bones of fading cultures and ideas, about the living museums of spectacle where these bones are found. At the centre of Ossuaries is the narrative of Yasmine, a woman living an underground life, fleeing from past actions and regrets, in a perpetual state of movement. She leads a solitary clandestine life, crossing borders actual (Algiers, Cuba, Canada), and timeless. Cold-eyed and cynical, she contemplates the ...
See more details below

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


Dionne Brand’s hypnotic, urgent long poem – her first book of poetry in four years, is about the bones of fading cultures and ideas, about the living museums of spectacle where these bones are found. At the centre of Ossuaries is the narrative of Yasmine, a woman living an underground life, fleeing from past actions and regrets, in a perpetual state of movement. She leads a solitary clandestine life, crossing borders actual (Algiers, Cuba, Canada), and timeless. Cold-eyed and cynical, she contemplates the periodic crises of the contemporary world. This is a work of deep engagement, sensuality, and ultimate craft from an essential observer of our time and one of the most accomplished poets writing today.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Dionne Brand:
"[Brand] makes music and sense of our complex age."
— Jury citation, Governor General's Award

"Brand's luscious and ferocious lines go beyond a critique of dystopian realities to construct, in themselves, in their keen, lyric intelligence, an oasis of truth, compassion, and sensuality."
— Jury Citation, Griffin Poetry Prize

"[Inventory] shows there's no better chronicler of the ache in our body politic…. In the face of the desensitization that comes with a steady diet of the passing horrors contained in the daily news, Inventory is a kind of re-sensitization: lyrically compelling, impassioned and stirring."
Toronto Star

"Inventory is damning without being superior, sorrowful without falling into self-pity, joyful without becoming naïve…. Inventory is thought-provoking enough with these nuances of rage, despair, guilt. What makes it 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

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780771017360
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 112
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Dionne Brand is a multi-award-winning poet, essayist, and novelist. Her ten volumes of poetry include Land to Light On, winner of the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Book Award; thirsty, winner of the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize; Inventory, a finalist for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Governor General’s Award; and, most recently, Ossuaries. Her 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, Brand was awarded the prestigious Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the world of books and writing, and, in 2009, she was named Toronto’s Poet Laureate. In addition to her literary accomplishments, Brand is Professor of English in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. She lives in Toronto.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

ossuary I
I lived and loved, some might say,
in momentous times,
looking back, my dreams were full of prisons
in our narcotic drifting slumbers,
so many dreams of course were full of prisons,
mine were without relief
in our induced days and our wingless days,
my every waking was incarcerated,
each square metre of air so toxic with violence
the atmospheres were breathless there,
the bronchial trees were ligatured with carbons
some damage I had expected, but no one expects the violence of glances, of offices,
of walkways and train stations, of bathroom mirrors
especially, the vicious telephones, the coarseness of daylight, the brusque decisions of air,
the casual homicides of dresses
what brutal hours, what brutal days,
do not say, oh find the good in it, do not say,
there was virtue; there was no virtue, not even in me
let us begin from there, restraining metals covered my heart, rivulets of some unknown substance transfused my veins
at night, especially at night, it is always at night,
a wall of concrete enclosed me,
it was impossible to open my eyes
I lived like this as I said without care,
tanks rolled into my life, grenades took root in my uterus, I was sickly each morning, so dearly
what to say,
life went on around me,
I laughed, I had drinks, I gathered with friends
we grinned our aluminum teeth,
we exhaled our venomous breaths,
we tried to be calm in the invisible architecture
we incubated, like cluster bombs,
whole lives waiting, whole stellar regions,
discoveries of nebulae, and compassion
from the cities the electric rains pierced us,
the ceaseless bitter days folded like good linen,
the phosphorous streets gave off their harmful lights
we bit our fingernails to blue buttons,
we staggered at the high approach of doorways,
plunged repeatedly to our deaths only to be revived
by zoos, parades, experiments, exhibits, television sets,
oh we wanted to leave, we wanted to leave the aspirated syllables and villages, the skeletal
dance floors, the vacant, vacant moons that tortured us,
when the jailers went home and the spectators drifted away and the scientists finished their work
like a bad dog chained to an empty gas station,
for blue blue nights,
I got worse and worse, so troubling
I would fall dead like a specimen,
at the anthropometric spectacles on the Champ de Mars, the Jardin d’Acclimatation
the mobile addresses of the autopsy fields,
though I could see no roads,
I was paid for losing everything, even eyesight
I lived in the eternal villages, I lived like a doll,
a shaggy doll with a beak, a bell, a red mouth,
I thought, this was the way people lived, I lived
I had nights of insentient adjectives,
shale nights, pebbled nights, stone nights,
igneous nights, of these nights, the speechlessness
I recall, the right ribs of the lit moon,
the left hip of the lit moon,
what is your name they asked, I said nothing
I heard the conspiratorial water,
I heard the only stone, I ate her shoulder,
I could not hear myself, you are mistaken I said to no one
the chain-link fences glittered like jewellery,
expensive jewellery, portable jewellery,
I lost verbs, whole, like the hull of almonds
after consideration you will discover, as I,
that verbs are a tragedy, a bleeding cliffside, explosions,
I’m better off without, with vermillion, candles
this bedding, this mercy,
this stretcher, this solitary perfectable strangeness,
and edge, such cloth this compass
of mine, of earth, of mourners of these reasons, of which fairgrounds, of which theories of plurals, of specimens of least and most, and most
of expeditions,
then travels and wonders then journeys,
then photographs and photographs of course
the multiplications of which, the enormity of this,
and drill-bits and hammers and again handcuffs,
and again rope, coarse business but there
some investigations, then again the calculations,
such hours, such expansions, the mind dizzy with leaps, such handles, of wood, of thought
and then science, all science, all murder,
melancholic skulls, pliant to each fingertip,
these chromatic scales, these calipers the needle
in the tongue, the eyes’ eye, so whole diameters, circumferences, locutions,
an orgy of measurements, a festival of inches
gardens and paraphernalia of measurements,
unificatory data, curious data,
beautiful and sensuous data, oh yes beautiful
now, of attractions and spectacles of other sheer forces,
and types in the universe, the necessary exotic measurements, rarest, rarest measuring tapes
a sudden unificatory nakedness, bificatory nakedness,
of numbers, of violent fantasms at exhibitions again, of walks, of promenades
at fairs with products, new widgets, human widgets,
with music, oh wonders,
the implications
then early in this life, like mountains,
already pictures and pictures, before pictures,
after pictures and cameras
their sickness, eye sickness, eye murder,
murder sickness, hunger sickness,
this serendipity of calculators, of footprints
with fossils, their wingspan of all time,
at crepuscules’ rare peace time, if only,
like water, in daytime, no solace, so, so different
from solitude, all solitude, all madness,
so furious, so numerous, the head, the markets,
the soles of the feet, so burnt, so thin
and the taste, so meagre, so light-headed,
the cloud flashes, the lightning geometry,
the core of reflectivity so vastly, vastly vast
the wait now, lumens of aches, such aches,
the horizontal and the vertical aches of lightning,
its acoustics, loud pianos, percussive yet
strings and quartets, multicellular runnels yet and yet,
the altitude of the passageway, its precipitation and grand arithmetic, the segments
the latitudes of where, where and here,
its contours, its eccentric curvatures,
so presently, angular and nautical, all presently
just fine my lungs, just fine,
hypothesis absolutely, but just fine,
why lungs, strange theory
oh yes and the magnitude of jaundice, trenches,
like war, continuous areas and registers, logarithms so unexplainable, rapid scales, high notes
besides, anyway so thermal, atmospheric,
wondrous aggressions, approximately here,
elaborate like radiation and seismic, yes all over
the bodies’ symptoms of algebraic floods,
tiredness for one, weariness actually,
weary with magnetic embryos
petals, yes petals of sick balm please, now yes,
for my esophagus, analgesics of indigo,
of wires, of electric shocks, why eucalyptus leaves
of course lemon grass, labernum, please, lion’s claw,
remedies of cloves, bitter bark,
still birdless though, worldless
asthma with blueness, then music,
gardens truthfully, truthfully nauseous with tonsured numbers, volumes of fibres, embroidery
and hair nets of violence, blue,
like machine guns, of course knives, extensions of blueness, all right then wherever
same radiations, lines in the forehead,
tapers, electrodes, invisible to the eyes,
official hammers and corkscrews, official grass
official cities now for appearances after all this,
all these appearances, generous, for certain scraggly, wan, and robust appearances
assignments and hidden schedules of attendance,
a promise of blindness, a lover’s clasp of violent syntax and the beginning syllabi of verblessness

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)