launching ex nihilo / my debut

“The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature is astonishment, and astonishment is that state of the soul in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror. The mind is so entirely filled with its object that it cannot entertain any other, nor reason on that object which fills it. Astonishment is the effect of the sublime in its highest degree; its inferior effects are admiration, reverence, and respect.”

                                                         — from Edmund Burke’s The Sublime and Beautiful

The moment arrives when I’m holding my book in my hands and my airplane ticket for the premiere and it all sinks in like this terrible, sublime feeling of absolutely too much joy.  Not the kind of joy that makes you want to dance, but rather, that very quiet, peaceful sense that everything is falling into place by means of a kind of… elevation of spirit.  The kind of joy that stops you from being able to edit your work and be succinct and add too many clauses (like I am doing now).

Despite the short-lived ego-trip of holding Ex Nihilo in my hands and seeing it on I am strangely humbled.  When I think of the writers who supported me — some indirectly and from a distance, others through the years who I continue to admire —  I look at my book as the manifestation of a crossroads: not only in its content (i.e. as a book about blackness/whiteness, pop culture/academia, politics/the spirit), but the precise moment where everything that preceded its creation is met with a future I am so astounded is here.   I stand in awe of this moment.

By the end of next week I will most likely have no nails and have slept little but alas, my complaints will be few. 

If ya ain’t heard, I’m flying to Edmonton for the Edmonton Poetry Festival, and then to Calgary, home of my publisher, Frontenac House.  Calgary is also hosting the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, where I will also be reading from Ex Nihilo for the first time.

I’m leaving this Monday for my mini-Canada tour and unveil Ex Nihilo this Tuesday, April 27!  Read below for info about the book, my launch(es), and my contact info. 


April 27, 2010, 7 p.m.
Stanley A. Milner Library Theatre, Edmonton
#7 Sir Winston Churchill Square
An extension of the Edmonton Poetry Festival
All 10 Dektet poets will be at the event

April 29, 2010, 7 p.m.
John Dutton Theatre at the Central Library, Calgary
616 Macleod Trail SE
The closing event of the Calgary International Spoken Word Festival
All 10 Dektet poets will be at the event

Toronto launches TO BE ANNOUNCED.   I may also be throwing Montreal and Ottawa into the mix.


Ex Nihilo
, my debut poetry collection, will hit Canadian bookstores this month – National Poetry Month.  Chosen by a jury of leading Canadian poets – bill bissett, George Elliott Clarke, and Alice Major – using a blind selection process, Ex Nihilo is one of ten books to be published by Frontenac House in honour of Dektet 2010 – A Celebration of Canadian Poetry.

Ex Nihilo is a collection of poems attuned to the presence ghosts – of past friends and lovers, bygone eras, and figures from old times that reappear in our lives on a daily basis.  It is also a collection about moving onwards.  The possibility that the present is a continued struggle against nihilism, marked by the will to create, offers important questions about identity and heritage: what does it mean to exist in the present?  Out of what matter do we form our identities?  How are we different now than in the past?   And, finally, what “pasts” unite us, and which pasts might we still identify with – such as the histories of the disenfranchisement of groups – even if we never experienced them?  As a poetic text, Ex Nihilo collection deals with the question of art and identity as creations ex nihilo (out of nothing), whose immateriality allow us to engage in endless discursive creativity, as we travel and endlessly (re)create ourselves.

For more information about Frontenac House, a dynamic Canadian press launched in 2000 by Rose and David Scollard, visit:


Ex Nihilo will be available April 2010 at bookstores across Canada.  You can order it from the Frontenac House website by clicking here

Read reviews of Ex Nihilo here

Ex Nihilo is also available through and Chapters/

For distribution in the U.S., please contact Alpine Book Peddlers.  For distribution in university libraries, please contact Yankee Book Peddlers or Blackwell.

I look forward to seeing you all at readings between now and the official launch of my debut poetry collection in Toronto this September.  I will have copies on hand.  Toronto locations tba.

If you don’t live in one of the towns I’ll be visiting, I would be more than happy to send you a personal, signed copy.  For inquiries about obtaining a signed copy, and/or to join my mailing list, drop me a line at

For readings, interviews, and other media or information about the book, contact Lyn Cadence at 403.465.2345 or

For updates on my readings/signings, visit my blog, Facebook Fan Page, or the Frontenac House website.

Your support means everything.

With love and gratitude,


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