Poems in Support of Voices Against Racism from Saskatchewan Poet Laureate Bruce Rice
The terrible events that triggered unrest in the U.S. in 1968 and the protests that followed the death of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks are distressingly similar. Racism, police brutality, and inequality are still with us as the protests and calls for action in the US, Canada and around the world show. In these times, poetry names what’s inside us, our griefs and our courage. It prepares us for the future.
I recently published a new collection from Radiant Press, The Vivian Poems: Street Photographer Vivian Maier. The centre of this work includes four poems in a section called “1968.” That year saw the shooting of Martin Luther King and the riots that followed, the shooting of Robert Kennedy, and the disastrous Chicago Democratic Convention. The world has shifted since then and so has the media. But there is no mistaking the images, the language on both sides, the call for justice, and the sense of a larger change that has already begun.
This video reading of the four poems from Vivian has been put together with the help of John Kennedy at Radiant Press. It is offered in support of today’s voices for change, and in honour of those who led the way. Like the empty bench in the last poem, I hope they offer a place for reflection as we consider where to go from here.
Bruce Rice, Saskatchewan Poet Laureate