“We – the audience with me – are ‘breaking bread together’”: Black Canadian Dub Poets’ Call-and-Response Practices and (Re)Creating Home in the Diaspora

Wilfried Raussert, Bielefeld University, Germany

This essay looks at the poetic use of call-and response patterns and their role in creating a sense of home and belonging in the works of the African Canadian dub poets Lillian Allen and Afua Cooper. As the author argues, ‘home’ can no longer be thought of solely in terms of house, nation, family, or community, at least not in their traditional sense. Historical experiences of black subjects and cultures have produced radically different perspectives on what constitutes individual and collective belonging, and the meaning(s) of ‘home’. Therefore, in order to address ideas of ‘home’ and affiliation in contexts of black cultural production, it is important to critically assess and (re-)conceptualize ‘home’ as unstable, dynamic, and processual. The poetry by Lillan Allen and Afua Cooper provides dialogic examples of how to recreate home in the diaspora and address black audiences in Canada, in the Caribbean, and beyond.

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