An Approach to Poetics that Recognizes Diversity

Guest post by Olajide Salawu

Toward an Anti-Racist Poetics by Wayde Compton is the latest title in our CLC Kreisel Lecture Series. Themed around anti-racism, literary cultures, and language, Compton rejects the white universalism of literary production and practice in Canada. 

Born in Vancouver, Compton tells a counter-story to white literary normativity with his rich experience as a Black author in Canada pushing against institutional barriers. In Towards an Anti-Racist Poetics, he invites us to develop a collective approach to poetics that recognizes diversity.

He provides three key considerations when creating an anti-racist poetics. 

First, interpositionalism: understanding the different cultures in the world. Readers must value these cultures equally in understanding the communities that produce them, rather than only appreciating literature from Western perspectives.

Next, temporal interpositionalism. Compton also considers time when reaching for a richer understanding of literature. Rather than viewing literary practice against Western standards of time, readers should consider the time a piece of writing is set within.

Lastly, he looks at personally inclusive praxis, or acknowledgement. To participate in anti-racist poetics is to be an active listener and communicator. This encourages evaluating one’s position in relation with others.

Engage with more of Wayde Compton’s ideas by reading excerpts from Toward an Anti-Racist Poetics in Quill and Quire and The Quad.

Cover image for Toward An Anti-Racist Poetics and author photo of Wayde Compton.