Vox Humana (Latin for “human voice”) is driven by a sense of political urgency to probe the ethics of agency in a world that actively resists the participation of some voices over others.
In and through literary experiments with word and sound, utterance and song, Vox Humana considers the different ways a body can assert, recount, proclaim, thus underscoring the urgency of doing so against the de-voicing effects of racism and institutional violence.
As the title also represents an organ reed that sounds like the human voice, so DeRango-Adem shares her reclaiming of the instrument traditionally accessed by the white establishment.
These poems are born from the polyphonic phenomenon of the author’s multilingual upbringing. They are autobiographical and alchemical, singular and plural, but, above all, a celebration of the (breath) work required for transformation of society and self.
Praise for Vox Humana:
“Vox Humana by Adebe DeRango-Adem crackles with lexical and corporeal electricity. This is poetry that scans like lightning across a slate-blue sky, slashing the page with its power. Through its measurements of Blackness, miscegenation, migration, identity, the body, and the body politic, Vox Humana is the voice you have been waiting to hear. An incendiary cri de coeur for our times.” —Wayde Compton, author of The Outer Harbour
“Vox Humana compels the reader to engage with the fragment and with the sounded breath of words seeping through cracks in the text; in so doing it requires that the reader trust the movement of breath, word, and fragment and demands a new way of reading. Vox Humana does what poetry intends—it creates new ways of seeing all that has always been (not) there.” —M. NourbeSe Philip, author of Zong! and Bla_K
Most Anticipated: Our Shelf 2022 Fall Poetry Preview —49th Shelf
Poetry in Motion: Vox Humana —All Lit Up
48 Canadian poetry collections to watch for in fall 2022 —CBC Books
“Poems are composed as gestural sweeps of language, utterances and tradition, song, prayer and declaration. She speaks and sings on race and identity, history and community, doing so with such force, and clearly a voice to be heard, to be acknowledged; to be reckoned with.” —rob mclennan
A Reading List for Black History Month 2023 —CLMP
“DeRango-Adem’s poems. . . channel intricate combinations of syntax, verbiage and enjambment—instrumentation—to express rage, grief, desire and hope in the face of pain.” —Shereen Lee, Maisonneuve
“In Vox Humana, Adebe DeRango-Adem offers a politics and ethics of urgency in every poem. Pulsating with voices, these rhythms are alive as they ‘spook / the master’s language,’ altering formal expectations and invoking lineages of poetic experimentation with distinction and exuberance. This book demands a humanism that exclaims, ‘butwhocaresnobigdealIwantmore’ in its desire for ‘more breath.'” —2022-23 Jurors of the Raymond Souster Award (MLA Chernoff, Marjorie Bruhmuller, and Evan J)
Meet the Winners of the 2023 League of Canadian Poets Book Awards —League of Canadian Poets
Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer and former attendee of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (Naropa University), where she mentored with poets Anne Waldman and Amiri Baraka. She is the author of three previous full-length poetry books to date: Ex Nihilo, a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize; Terra Incognita, nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award; and The Unmooring. A poem from The Unmooring was featured in the 2019 Poem-In-Your-Pocket anthology, co-created by the League of Canadian Poets and the Academy of American Poets. Adebe served as the 2019-20 Barbara Smith Writer-in-Residence with Twelve Literary Arts (Cleveland, Ohio) and was selected by Sonia Sanchez as the winner of the 2021 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest. She lives in Toronto.