What follows is Part 1 of 2 of M. NourbeSe Philip’s essay, “Black W/Holes: A History Of Brief Time,” which combines definitions from Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time with an urgent discussion about race relations in Canada and beyond in the late 1990s. This essay was originally published in Toronto’s FUSE Magazine in 1998. After sending Philip my commentary, “Physics of the Impossible,” which speculatively discusses her book-length poem Zong! (Wesleyan University Press, 2008) in relation to Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, she sent me this essay. Since it only appears in the back issue of FUSE, I am presenting it here with her permission.
Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen was born and raised on the Canadian prairies, where she learned, among other things, how to make relish and flapper pie. Her collection of poetry Clay Birds was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award and won the Saskatchewan Poetry Award in 1996. Her collection Ör, won a John V. Hicks manuscript prize and was shortlisted for the 2004 Pat Lowther Award.