Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Poem-of-the-Week: Lillian Allen

The Refugee

Silence rocks the night
nerve stretch tight
snapping left and right
anger peels…
a straight faced appeal
to the
Canada that can
to save him

no one appeared
or dared to care
for the solitary heart
that paced the night

morning brought light
more panic and fright
for the vacant of days
that faced him

he ran from the light
took a balcony dive
plunges his life
to the pavement below
that plagued him

nothing resolved
a few problems got solve
two months rent defrayed
the credit companies got swayed
on his apartment a sign says
Now Renting

-Lillian Allen

From Women Do This Every Day (1993), used by permission.


Lillian Allen is an award-winning Canadian poet, fiction writer, playwright, and cultural strategist. As one of its lead originators, she has specialized in the writing and performing of dub poetry, a highly politicized form of poetry, which is sometimes set to music. Her recordings, "Revolutionary Tea Party" and "Conditions Critical," won Juno awards in 1986 and 1988 respectively. Her publications include Theorize This (2004),Psychic Unrest (Insomniac Press, 2000), Women Do This Every Day (Women’s Press, 1993), Nothing but a Hero (Well-versed, 1992). Her many recordings include “Freedom & Dance,” 1999, and “Conditions Critical,” 1988. A past member of the Racial Equity Advisory of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Experts Advisory on the International Cultural Diversity Agenda, past executive member of the Sectoral Commission on Culture and Information of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Allen was named a Foremother of Canadian Poetry by the League of Canadian Poets in 1992.


Allen will be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness,March 10-13, 2010, in Washington, DC. The festival will present readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism—four days of creative transformation as we imagine a way forward, hone our community and activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. For more information:

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem-of-the-Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

Split This Rock

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