Ossuaries by Dionne BrandOssuaries by Dionne Brand


byDionne Brand

Paperback | March 30, 2010

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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.
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; I...
Title:OssuariesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 8.26 × 5.53 × 0.34 inPublished:March 30, 2010Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771017340

ISBN - 13:9780771017346

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Read from the Book

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 ligaturedwith carbons some damage I had expected, but no oneexpects the violence of glances, of offices,of walkways and train stations, of bathroom mirrors especially, the vicious telephones, the coarseness ofdaylight, 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 metalscovered my heart, rivuletsof 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 rootin 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 leavethe aspirated syllables and villages, the skeletal dance floors, the vacant, vacant moons that tortured us,when the jailers went home and the spectators driftedaway 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 spectacleson 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 thesereasons, of which fairgrounds, of which theoriesof 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 dizzywith 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, sowhole 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 necessaryexotic measurements, rarest, rarest measuring tapes a sudden unificatory nakedness, bificatory nakedness,of numbers, of violent fantasmsat 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 precipitationand 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, logarithmsso 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 withtonsured numbers, volumes of fibres, embroidery and hair nets of violence, blue,like machine guns, of course knives, extensionsof 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 certainscraggly, wan, and robust appearances assignments and hidden schedules of attendance,a promise of blindness, a lover’s clasp ofviolent syntax and the beginning syllabi of verblessness

Editorial Reviews

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