The Racial Imaginary


…our imaginations are creatures as limited as we ourselves are. They are not some special, uninfiltrated realm that transcends the messy realities of our lives and minds. To think of creativity in terms of transcendence is itself specific and partial—a lovely dream perhaps, but an inhuman one.

-Claudia Rankine and Beth Loffreda via LitHub, which published a version of the foreword to the collection of essays, edited by Rankine and Loffreda, titled, The Racial Imaginary (Fence Books 2015). Also see Claudia Rankine: why I’m spending $625,000 to study whiteness.

Claudia Rankine will be at Concordia University, Montreal, on March 10th, 2016. Details TBA.

Link Round Up: Citizen

Citizen book cover. In the Hood (1993) by David Hammons

Claudia Rankine will be reading at Concordia University on March 10th, 2017. Recipient of the 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely. David Hammons is the creator is In the Hood (1993), the artwork featured on the cover of Rankine’s Citizen and pictured above.

We have gathered some links to (re-)visit in anticipation. Visit Writers Read often for more writing on and links to work about our visiting authors.

Black Bodies In White Words, Or: Why We Need Claudia Rankine  from NPR’s CodeSwitch blog.

An interview with Claudia Rankine from NPR’s weekend edition: In ‘Citizen,’ Poet Strips Bare The Realities Of Everyday Racism



From the Archive: Tanya Tagaq

Writers Read looks back at hosting Tanya Tagaq in October, 2013. That evening, a first-come-first-serve audience crammed into a conference room in Concordia’s Henry F. Hall to witness the unique line-up of throat singer, Tanya Tagaq, experimental poet, Christian Bök, and composer/performance artist, Jaap Blonk. Seating became a competitive event as many people were turned away for a small seating capacity, which created a sense of relief for those who arrived early and, for those turned away, became a howl not unlike the haunting sounds of Tagaq. Following spirited performances by both Blonk and Bök, Tagaq took to the floor and, accompanied by a violinist, displayed the vocal style and range for which she is famous.

Tagaq is about to release her next album, Retribution. To learn more and hear the driving rhythms her single, “Centre,” visit .

Enjoy a moment captured by an attendee:


– Johnathan F. Clark


From the Archive: Julian Barnes

Writers Read looks back at hosting Julian Barnes in 2005. Those who were wise enough to find an early seat crowded themselves into the Samuel Bronfman Building to listen as Julian Barnes read excerpts of his then-newly released novel, Arthur & George. Barnes spoke of Spanish-speaking, Bible-narrating parrots, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Continue reading “From the Archive: Julian Barnes”

The Body Always Gives a Shit & Other Distractions


Sonnet L’Abbé reads The Body Always Gives a Shit, a poem in three parts. She will be joining Writers Read in March 2016.

Some data points on the staff make-up of arts organizations in New York City.

Quill & Quire talks to Pedlar Press founder, Beth Follett.

And a song because why not. If you ever need music to play when you want to wake up on a bed of clouds, slowly drifting to land with the northern lights in your peripherals, the debut EP from Montreal’s She-Devils is surely the one.