Even This Page Is White

Even This Page Is White

Book - 2016
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Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature winner

Lambda Literary Award finalist

Longlisted for Canada Reads

As a writer, musician, performance artist, and filmmaker, Vivek Shraya has, over the course of the last few years, established herself as a tour de force artist of the highest order. Vivek's bodyof work includes ten albums, four short films, and three books, including the YA book God Loves Hair (A Quill and Quire and Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Book of the Year) and the adult novel She of the Mountains (a Lambda Literary Award finalist).

Vivek's debut collection of poetry, even this page is white , is a bold, timely, and personal interrogation of skin―its origins, functions, and limitations. Poems that range in style from starkly concrete to limber break down the barriers that prevent understanding ofwhat it means to be racialized. Shraya paints the face of everyday racism with words, rendering it visible, tangible, and undeniable.

Publisher: Vancouver : Arsenal Pulp Press, ©2016.
ISBN: 9781551526416
Characteristics: 117 pages ;,21 cm.

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lydia1879
Jun 25, 2017

Happy Pride Month!

Even This Page is White by Vivek Shraya has to be one of my most long-awaited reads of 2017. And from the first poem, white dreams, I loved her work.

She discusses racism, colour, what it means to be brown, desire, sexuality and how in coveting whiteness, you can lose yourself. I loved that she was able to take complex, difficult issues like privilege, heteronormativity and her own anti-black racism and condense them into short, emotional, cathartic poems.

Her work is not academic in nature. It is raw, it is vulnerable, it is beautiful and radical.

Her writing is lyrical and bare, but most of all honest and I think this is something I value the most. I'm reminded of this quotation by Gwendolyn Brooks:

"In writing your poem, tell the truth as you know it. Tell your truth. Don’t try to sugar it up. Don’t force your poem to be nice or proper or normal or happy if it does not want to be. Remember that poetry is life distilled and that life is not always nice or proper or normal or happy or smooth or even-edged." -- Gwendolyn Brooks

This quotation fits her work to a tee. She writes honestly, but not in a way that is not compassionate. She writes as if she were speaking to her former self perhaps, a younger self, and when I think of all the young trans or agender people reading her work around the world, my heart is warmed. Her voice is an echo, a soft place to fall, a mirror through which young trans and LBTQIA people can see their own beauty.

I think the aspect of her work that I cherished the most was when she discussed her sexuality freely and easily in her work. Trans people are constantly seen as other, they are forever sexualised and objectified. They are portrayed in films as the butt of a sexual joke, the endless fascination with body parts, genitals and sexual preference overrides even the most PG of daytime talkshows.

Enter Vivek Shraya, talking freely of her own desire, her own parts, her own sexuality. It was a relief to see a counter-narrative to this deafening commentary, for a brown trans body to be honoured in such a way. It is wonderfully queer, and it astonishes me in this day in age that queer sex is still considered so radical, but it is.

Shraya's work is kind. Shraya's work is gentle. Shraya's work is revolutionary.

KCLSRacheal Dec 14, 2016

Vivek Shraya is a writer and performance artist who was first nominated for a 2011 Lambda Literary Award for God Loves Hair. Shraya's newest effort, even this page is white, powerfully explores race, identity, gender and sexuality. True to her roots, the poems have a rhythm and a flow that feel like they would work well at performance pieces. That being said, though, reading them on the page is no less affecting!

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lydia1879
Jun 25, 2017

lydia1879 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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