Poems for Monday Mornings: M. NourbeSe Philip’s “Zong 19”

In celebration of National Poetry Month and APIA Heritage Month this year, we have started a two-month Monday Morning series in which we will be sharing an audio recording of a different poem that has moved, challenged, or stuck with us each week.

Today’s Monday Morning Poem is one of Mia’s picks, an excerpt of M. NourbeSe Philip’s book Zong! (Wesleyan U Press, 2008), which takes on, and writes against,  the injustice inherent in the [true] story of a slave ship whose captain—in November of 1781—ordered that 150 Africans be drowned so that the owners could collect insurance money.   Philip’s masterful control of sound, space, and pause; and the piercing understated-ness of her oral delivery make this recording (and the rest of the “Zong” poems that are documented in PennSound‘s archives) softly chilling and magnetically resonant.

M. NourbeSe Philip reads “Zong 19”

To listen via streaming audio, click the link above, which will take you to Philip’s page on PennSound, and then scroll down to the recording (#17 under the “Segue Series Reading at the Bowery Poetry Club”).

Or, to retrieve and open the file directly on your computer’s media player software, click here.

Enjoy, and Happy [Easter] Monday!

– Mia & Iris

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