Saturday, 9 May 2015

I Contain Multitudes

Shane Book—whose second book, Congotronicis nominated for this year's Griffin poetry prize—muses on his allegiance to the maple leaf:
I think there was something about growing up in a family of travelers, a family that lived in different countries and was itself made up of multiple nationalities, races, ethnicities, and so on—that seemed to me to be very Canadian. Perhaps this is because I have always associated Canada and Canadians with a certain inquisitive internationalism, an outward-looking curiosity about the world. Also, I have always felt like and been, an outsider. To absolutely generalize—I think there’s a certain quality of the “onlooker” or “spectator” that is part of being a Canadian. This quality of “watching” probably goes along with being from any smaller, peripheral nation: we’re looking to the centres, at what the empires are doing. Then again I have always felt like a citizen of several nations, so maybe that cancels out everything I just said. Apparently, like anyone, I contain multitudes, contradictions and some platitudes, as well.

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