By (author): M. NourbeSe Philip

Bla_K is a collection of previously out-of-print essays and new works by one of Canada’s most important writers and thinkers.

Through an engagement with her earlier work, M. NourbeSe Philip comes to realize the existence of a repetition in the world: the return of something that, while still present, has become unembedded from the world, disappeared. Her imperative becomes to make us see what has gone unseen by writing memory upon the margin of history, in the shadow of empire and at the frontier of silence.

In heretical writings that work to make the disappeared perceptible, Bla_K explores questions of timeliness, recurrence, ongoingness, art, race, the body politic, and the so-called multicultural nation. Through these considerations, Philip creates a linguistic form that registers the presence of what has seemingly dissolved, a form that also imprints the loss and the silence surrounding those disappearances in its very presence.


M. NourbeSe Philip

Born in Tobago, M. NourbeSe Philip is a renowned poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, and independent scholar. She practised law for seven years before becoming a poet and writer. Among her published works are the seminal She Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks; the speculative prose poem Looking for Livingston: An Odyssey of Silence; the young adult novel Harriet’s Daughter; the play Coups and Calypsos; and four collections of essays, including her most recent collection, BlanK. Her book-length poem Zong! is a conceptually innovative, genre-breaking epic, which explodes the legal archive as it relates to slavery. Zong! was named the 2021 winner of World Literature Today’s 21 Books for the 21st Century. Among her awards are the prestigious Chalmers Award (Ontario Arts Council), the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (Outstanding mid-career artist), as well as the Pushcart Prize (USA), the Casa de las Americas Prize (Cuba), the Lawrence Foundation Prize (USA), the Arts Foundation of Toronto Writing and Publishing Award (Toronto), and Dora Award finalist (Drama). Her fellowships include Guggenheim, McDowell, and Rockefeller (Bellagio). She is an awardee of both the YWCA Woman of Distinction (Arts) and the Elizabeth Fry Rebels for a Cause awards. M. NourbeSe Philip is the 2020 recipient of PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, as well as the 2021 recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ lifetime achievement award, the Molson Prize, for her “invaluable contributions to literature.”


“The essays in Bla_K show not just how prescient Philip is as a commentator, but how much our culture has lost by the marginalization and erasure of voices like hers (hence the book’s title).” —Quill & Quire

Bla_K is an essential remedy.” —The Globe and Mail


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348 Pages
9.00in * 6.00in * .80in


October 01, 2017


Book*hug Press



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By (author): M. NourbeSe Philip

Contributions by: Setaey Adamu Boateng