Week 13

January 8th, 2021WRIP

Some readings, art, music, and other resources. These are not required readings. They have been shared with us by our guests, or are things we have looked up after an interview for further information or just because we were curious.

We share these materials with you for interest and pleasure’s sake.

If you missed last week’s class, you can listen to it here:

Week 13 with WRIP – January 8th, 2021

Writing Revolution In Place, or WRIP, started in the basement of Boyle Street Community Service Centre, or what used to be known as the Boyle Street Co-op. Interestingly enough, that is where Humanities 101 started too. WRIP, like HUM, was supported and worked collaboratively with The Learning Centre. The Learning Centre has since moved and is now in the Orange Building. WRIP continues to collaborate and work with The Learning Centre. You can check out their many, and varied, programs and classes at https://tlcla.org/.

WRIP was born out of a conversation between Christine Stewart, a UofA instructor, and Denis Lapierre, the Executive Director of The Learning Centre (here is an article with some more info on The Learning Centre). Christine Stewart works, plays, and researches in poetics. Here is a video of Christine speaking to what this means to her research:

In our interview with Christine, she reminds us to never stop thinking about the power language holds. It is able to both uplift and oppress. She also speaks about respecting how our use of language might impact others and to remain open and willing to adapt our use of language to ensure we are caring for people and not continuing to participate in hurtful and harmful language. She spoke of how the english language is white supremacist. She provides the example of how “dark”, “darkness”, “black”, and “blackness” are associated with badness, fear, danger, and other negative feelings – think “blacklisted”, “blackballed”, “black heart”, and how white and whiteness represent purity, goodness, and cleanliness.

Rebecca Stevens A. writes a blog post, “So Yes, The English Language is Racist Too“. She speaks about how the negative associations with black and blackness impacted her and other young black people as they grow up learning language.

Kisha C. Bryan and JPB Gerald, in their article “The Weaponization of English“, share how there are a “myriad of ways that language is weaponized and used as a tool to promote White supremacy and racism”. The article speaks to what this means today, for individuals, communities, and organizations and what we can do differently knowing that the english language is actively oppressing people.

WRIP shared an essay with us by Audre Lorde, a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” about the importance of poetry in our everyday. When she speaks of poetry she is not referring to the formula poems we are taught in our english school systems, or as she says in the essay “not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean — in order to cover their desperate wish for imagination without insight.”

You can read the essay using this link: https://hum101onair.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/poetry-is-not-a-luxury-audre-lorde.pdf

Sandra, a WRIP collective member, shares a reading from bell hooks 1952 book “Feminism is For Everybody“. You can both borrow the book and listen to an audiobook of Robin Miles reading the entire book using the Edmonton Public Library site: https://epl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1883785005

  • a friendly reminder that the Edmonton Public Library is free to join and there is a TONNE of free books, music, videos, workshops, and so much more to explore on the website or in person (check first because of Covid-19 restrictions).

WRIP (as an active poetic collective for 10 years now), and its many members, has been producing art, poetry, and other forms of expression. They have shared a zine they made in 2012, you can read it using this link:

WRIP shares a Renga poem with us. Renga poetry is a traditional genre of Japanese poetry that involves more than one poet collaborating on the same poem. To read more about this style of poem writing you can check out this Britannica article on Renga: https://www.britannica.com/art/renga

Our final activity for the term is shared with us by Rob Jackson from WRIP. It is to write a blackout poem. He has shared the following directions with us to make our own blackout poems:


Billy-Ray Belcourt’s “Treaty 8” poem is an excellent example of blackout poetry. Here is an excerpt from an Edmonton Journal article, from June 11, 2020, where Billy-Ray Belcourt talks about who he chose to use the blackout poem:

Q: One of the poems in NDN Coping Mechanisms is called Treaty 8, but most of the 10-page text is redacted, exposing only 174 words. Why that decision?

A: My first question was, what would it mean to include the entirety of Treaty 8 in a book of poetry? Does it become poetry itself, or does it reveal the inability of state language to become poetic? A lot of scholarship on the numbered treaties emphasizes the problem of mistranslation. What was said in these negotiations by chiefs and other negotiators, was, of course, altered and modified so that it reflected a particular kind of state craft. The language there is not the language of Indigenous people. So I thought, how do I unearth something different from these texts, that are so fixed in their meaning? The redaction was how I did that.

Billy-Ray Belcourt adds Alberta Literary Award to his collection of accolades with NDN Coping Mechanisms – Liane Faulder, June 11, 2020

We would love for you to share your blackout poems with us. You can send them through email to hum101@ualberta.ca or by mail at

HUM 101 c/o CJSRRoom 0-09 Students’ Union Building
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2J7

Published by hum101onair

We have joined forces with CJSR radio and will be broadcasting HUM over the airwaves!

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