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Speaking of Power

The Poetry of Di Brandt

By Di Brandt
Edited by Tanis MacDonald
Subjects Literary Criticism, Canadian Literature
Series Laurier Poetry Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889205062, 72 pages, April 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt, selected with an introduction by Tanis MacDonald
Foreword | Neil Besner
Biographical Note
Introduction | Tanis MacDonald
when i was five
but what do you think my father says
say to yourself each time
my mother found herself one late summer
missionary position (1)
missionary position (5)
mother why didnt you tell me this
you prepare a banquet in your mind
since we cannot meet on father ground
nonresistance, or love Mennonite style
prairie hymn
why she can’t write the mother
let me tell you, dear reader
completely seduced
what de Englische
the letters i wrote & didn’t
poem for a guy who’s
death is a good argument
today i spit out God & Jesus
& it amuses us to think
Jerusalem, the golden, city of my dreams
there are no words in me for Gaza
how long does it take to forget a murder
here, in the desert
how badly she wants peace
Zone: ⪦le Détroit> 1
Zone: ⪦le Détroit> 2
Here at the heart of the ravaged heart
Dog days in Maribor: Anti (electric) ghazals
Not ungrateful for the attempt at proper
Afterword: You pray for the rare flower to appear | Di Brandt


Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt introduces the reader to the lyric power and political urgency of the poetry of Di Brandt, providing an overview of her poetry written during a prolific and revolutionary twenty-year period.
Beginning with her early poetic inquiries into the dynamics of gender, religion, and the politics of language, Brandt examines the use and abuse of power as a cultural issue, emphasizing cross-cultural and domestic relationships. Particularly engaged with questions of motherhood, the land, violence and reparation, feminism, and spirituality, Brandt explores ecopoetics, an ecology of poetry, as a possible antidote to the cultural despair of the twenty-first century.
Editor Tanis MacDonald’s introduction outlines the major movements of Brandt’s work, emphasizing the relationship of language to power and the value of a dissenting voice in a forceful cultural poetics. An afterword by Brandt completes the volume.


The introductions and afterwords, if done properly, can help the first-time reader to contextualize and grapple with the imaginative and intellectual material they are about to encounter. These essays can be invaluable in helping the new reader to get a broad enough sense of the poet in question to be able to read the poems from a slightly more informed perspective.'' (about the Laurier Poetry series) I found MacDonald's introduction to Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt to be very illuminating. Her research was impeccable, and well-suited to the fiery, furious, rebellious poetry it sets up. MacDonald deftly summarizes the arc of Brandt's intense career, emphasizing her (Brandt's) belief that `poetry must be, at its core, concerned with the political power of language' (ix), as well as her decidedly feminist and radically spiritual ecopoetics.... In her afterword, Brandt rais[es] the question, are we, as a society, simply too comfortable to be disturbed by poetry's insistent voice? Too well-fed? When will we care? asks Brandt....Her afterword is both emotionally and intellectually stimulating....Here is poetry (and a poet) with a vision....Can I get a `hell yeah'? And a `hell yeah' for MacDonald too....Poetry like Brandt's...deserves the larger audience WLUP is attempting to win for it. I am crossing my fingers, and hoping that it succeeds.

- Jennifer Houle, PoetryReviews, September 2006, 2006 October