In the third evening of the Distance as a Keeping Series, two poets will share a poetics of polyvocality and discuss tactics of decolonizing canonical lyric texts. In their collection Sonnet's Shakespeare, Sonnet L'Abbé uses a mesmerizing process of hyper-overwriting onto Shakespeare's texts to entirely re/claim it for their own use as a radically present subjectivity. Sonnet has also developed a practice as songwriter and musical performer, and will share some of her songs. The dramatis personae of Nicole Raziya Fong's operatic OЯACULE includes "the painted woman, the grotesque heroine, the dissociated child...set in indecision." Nicole's libretto "interweaves lyric expressions of dreams, theatrical dialogue, songs and the voice of both chorus and anti-chorus," potentializing poetry as a stage-space of re-imagination.
Sonnet L'Abbé writes in the intersections between word, race, species, song, gender and place. They are the Tkaronto-born, mixed-race Black, Indo-Caribbean and Québecois child of Ghislain (Jason) L'Abbé and Janet (Rayman) L'Abbé, and author of the poetry collections A Strange Relief, Killarnoe, Anima Canadensis, and Sonnet's Shakespeare. Sonnet's Shakespeare was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Award and the Raymond Souster Award, and Quill and Quire called it "the most audacious volume of poetry to appear in 2019," naming it Book of the Year. In 2021, Sonnet played their first solo show as a singer-songwriter in the Port Theatre's Discovery Series. They live on Snuneymuxw territory on Vancouver Island and teach Creative Writing and English at Vancouver Island University.
Nicole Raziya Fong is a poet and painter living in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal, Canada. Her works seeks to delimit and reconstruct immaterial ampules of psychic experience, coaxing the incorporeal into inhabiting a more muscular physique. She is the author or OЯACULE (Talonbooks, 2021), PEЯFACT (Talonbooks, 2019), and the chapbooks 7 Series, Iterated by Colour (Hiding Press, 2021), and Fargone (Poetry Will Be Made By All, 2014), and has composed visual work for the collaborative chapbook Leguminosae Delusion Athletics with text by Andy Martrich (The Blasted Tree, 2022). Her writing has appeared in various publications including Social Text, the Capilano Review, filling station, the Volta and carte blanche, and has been translated into Swedish and French.
Distance as a Keeping is a series curated and hosted by Margaret Christakos, the inaugural Meredith and Peter Quartermain Poet in Residence and the 18th Writer in Residence at Green College. This series features three creative public events featuring talks/performances by special guest artists on themes of mutual attention, solo/polyvocality, embodied apartness and tactical spaciousness.