Claire Harris is one of Canada's most powerful poets. Dipped in Shadow shows her at her strongest: the book's five poems making hard-hitting statements about women and their children.
"O what are you thinking my sisters," the book's foreword, draws women of all races together in the fundamental facts of female life: fear for themselves and fear for their children. In "Night Dances," a frightening story of sexual and physical abuse, knife-sharp language and experimental form expand words far beyond their usual connotations. "Sister (Y)our Manchild" reminds women that the cruellest soldiers in the most vicious wars are their babies; they have nurtured evil in their beautiful children. "This Fierce Body" reviews the life of a young man dying of AIDS as friends watch at his bedside. Experimental form and language make "Woeman Womb Prisoned," a harrowing evocation of a teenager in childbirth, both moving and provocative.
Claire Harris is a Canadian poet of Trinidadian background who has produced eight collections of poems since her first volume, Fables from the Women's Quarters (1984), which won the Commonwealth Award for Poetry for the Americas Region. First released in 1992, Drawing Down a Daughter was nominated for the Governor General's Award for Poetry. Her work has been included in more than 70 anthologies and has been translated into German and Hindi. Claire Harris was born in Trinidad, West Indies, studied at University College, Dublin, where she earned a BA Honours in English. She came to Canada in 1966 and settled in Calgary. In 1975, during a study leave in Nigeria, she first wrote for publication and was encouraged by Nigerian poet, J.P. Clark. She also earned a diploma in communications from the University of Lagos, Nigeria (1975). After returning to Canada, Harris became active in the literary community in Calgary working as poetry editor at Dandelion from 1981-1989 and helping to found the all-Alberta magazine, blue buffalo, in 1983. She taught grade nine English in Calgary's Separate School system for 28 years, influencing generations of young people. Claire Harris is now retired and lives in Winnipeg.
"Harris's words pulsate and ignite the forgotten truths of histories past and present." — Books in Canada
Pub date: May 1, 1996