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Poetry Anthologies (multiple Authors)

The Great Black North

Contemporary African Canadian Poetry

edited by Valerie Mason-John & Kevan Anthony Cameron

Frontenac House Ltd.
Initial publish date
Feb 2013
Anthologies (multiple authors), Places, Canadian, African American
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2013
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


THE GREAT BLACK NORTH: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry is the first national anthology to focus solely on poetry by African Canadians.

Many African Canadians know their history in North America since the 17th century. However, the rest of the world may be unaware of the history of enslaved Africans and slave auctions north of the 49th parallel, as well as the free Blacks, Loyalists and Maroons who made their journeys to the “promised land” of Canada. The Great Black North is a valuable resource for the preservation of culture that is written and/or performed as dub poetry, spoken word and slam. At the heart of this book is a poetic blend of literary and oral traditions that recognizes the past and present as they form a tangible foundation for future generations of poets. This collection includes the work of over 90 poets working in many styles: the much-translated and internationally honoured Africadian George Elliott Clarke; Ian Keteku, who was crowned the 2010 World Poetry Slam champion; Lillian Allen, founder of the dub poetry tradition in Canada; Afua Cooper, who brought to light the hanging of an enslaved African woman, Marie Joseph Angélique, for the alleged burning of Montreal in 1734; and many others. The book is edited by Valerie Mason-John and Kevan Anthony Cameron, includes a preface by Karina Vernon, and an introduction by George Elliott Clarke.

About the authors

Poet, author, and public speaker Valerie Mason-John (a.k.a. “Queenie”) highlights issues of the African Diaspora and the Black, female, Queer identity, and resists the currently existing overt and covert forms of colonialism through their fierce and brave writing. They are the author /editor of ten books. Their debut novel, Borrowed Body, won the 2006 Mind Book of the Year Award. They co-edited the award-winning anthology, The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry, and co-produced Their most recent book is an edited collection: Afrikan Wisdom: New Voices Talk Black Liberation, Buddhism, and Beyond. Valerie lives in Vancouver. Find them online at

Valerie Mason-John's profile page

Kevan Anthony Cameron's profile page


  • Winner, Robert Kroetsch Poetry Award

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