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Michael Fraser (CA)

Day-Breakers, The

Day-Breakers, The

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Longlisted for the 2023 OCM Bocas Prize • Longlisted for the 2023 Raymond Souster Poetry Prize • A CBC Best Poetry Book of 2022 • Nominated for the 2023 ReLit Award for Poetry

Saturated with locutions lifted from the late 19th century, The Day-Breakers deeply conceives of what African Canadian soldiers experienced before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War.

"It is not wise to waste the life / Against a stubborn will. / Yet would we die as some have done. / Beating a way for the rising sun wrote Arna Bontemps. In The Day-Breakers, poet Michael Fraser imagines the selflessness of Black soldiers who fought for the Union during the American Civil War, of whom hundreds were African-Canadian, fighting for the freedom of their brethren and the dawning of a new day. Brilliantly capturing the rhythms of their voices and the era in which they lived and fought, Fraser’s The Day-Breakers is an homage to their sacrifice and an unforgettable act of reclamation: the restoration of a language, and a powerful new perspective on Black history and experience.

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Michael Fraser is published in various national and international journals and anthologies. His manuscript The Serenity of Stone won the 2007 Canadian Aid Literary Award Contest and was published by Bookland Press in 2008. He is published in Best Canadian Poetry in English 2013 and 2018. He has won numerous awards, including Freefall Magazine’s 2014 and 2015 poetry contests, the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize, and the 2018 Gwendolyn Macewen Poetry Competition. The Day-Breakers is his third book of poems.

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