Live from the Afrikan Resistance! is the first collection of spoken word poetry by Halifax’s fifth Poet Laureate, El Jones. These poems speak of community and struggle. They are grounded in the political culture of African Nova Scotia and inherit the styles and substances of hip- hop, dub and calypso’s political commentary. They engage historical themes and figures and analyze contemporary issues — racism, environmental racism, poverty and, violence — as well as confront the realities of life as a Black woman. The voice is urgent, uncompromising and passionate in its advocacy and demands. One of Canada’s most controversial spoken word artists, El Jones writes to educate, to move communities to action and to demonstrate the possibilities of resistance and empowerment. Gathered from seven years of performances, these poems represent the tradition of the prophetic voice in Black Nova Scotia.
“El Jones is a griot of the first order. Her beautiful, brilliant, and bold poems tell us that she is both wordmistress and swordmistress.”
— Afua Cooper
“Deeply honouring and explosively brilliant, El Jones is a fearless young poet creatively in the ‘zone’ joining the ranks of George Elliott Clarke, Maxine Thymes and Rocky Jones. El tackles old and new poetic territory with street smarts, crucial historical touchstones, fresh new hope, and a caring revolutionary fervor. Catch El Jones performing these poems and be stilled in astonishment. Read her on the page and experience what it’s like to be moved by unbounded commitment to the lives of Black people.”
— Lillian Allen
This book is about community itself, reading more as a loving collaboration than as a singular effort. The energetic, intelligent, and masterful technical wordplay of Live from the Afrikan Resistance! reflects Jones’ usual medium of spoken word, and readers can see how her work was translated from performance to the page. Her words more than survive the journey.
— Wording Around (full review)
“Buy this book. Sit with friends. Read it aloud.”
— Miles Howe, Halifax Media Co-Op, Sept. 2014 (full review)