National Poetry Month Day 8: Canisia Lubrin





The Shelf Life of Our Invisible Names


And when they come swallowing elsewhere

They empty our graves of our arrangements

They leave our bones to the chronicles of cyborg clerics

Ashamed of who has sold us little of all we own

And envious, too, of who we leave all the empty boxes to

Good, good, afternoon, cerulean you, draining rivers

where the fisherman was said to feed five thousand with a fraction

of someone’s loaves and two fish. This is where, perhaps, to ash is better.

Go and lay down where? This early life with blooded hands and tags.

My hungry tomb eats nothing and I’m carnivorous at once.


Photograph of Canisia Lubrin by Anna Keenan.

Canisia Lubrin is a writer, critic, editor, and teacher educated at York University and the University of Guelph. Her books are augur (Gap Riot Press, 2017), finalist for the pb Nichol chapbook award, Voodoo Hypothesis (Wolsak & Wynn, 2017), named a CBC Best Book, finalist for the Gerald Lampert and Pat Lowther award, and shortlisted for the Raymond Souster award, and The Dyzgraphxst (McClelland & Stewart, 2020), named a 2020 best book by Quill & Quire, CBC, Winnipeg Free Press, Rebel Women in Lit, among others. Her debut fiction, Code Noir, is forthcoming from Knopf Canada. Her work is also published and forthcoming in Poetry London, Brick, Jewish Currents,, The Rumpus, The Yale Review, The Capilano Review, and many other venues. Writer-in-Residence at Queen's University in 2019, her fiction appears in the 2019 and 2020 Journey Prize anthology, and The Unpublished City, finalist for the 2018 Toronto Book Award. In 2018, CBC named Lubrin to multiple lists of Canadian authors to watch. In 2020, the Writers’ Trust of Canada granted Lubrin a Rising Stars prize. She is Poetry Editor at McClelland & Stewart and The Dyzgraphxst is longlisted for the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Awarded a 2021 Windham-Campbell Prize for poetry, Lubrin was born in St. Lucia and now lives in Canada. More from this author →