The hip-hop aesthetics and visual poetry of Wayde Compton’s performance bond : claiming black space in contemporary Canada
Sherman, Jonathan Dale
Wayde Compton’s poetry collection Performance Bond is a union of hip-hop aesthetics and visual poetry to create a space for Vancouver’s black community. Although the majority of the poems in Performance Bond are lyric, visual poems have a significant and varied presence in the book. Compton creates his visual poetry by including such materials as photographs and signs, concrete poetry and pseudo-concrete poetry, graffiti, a simulated newspaper facsimile of an original Vancouver Daily Province article, voodoo symbols, and typed characters that do not necessarily form words. Despite a contemporary population of over two million people, the greater Vancouver area of today does not have a centralized black community similar to that found in other North American cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angles, Toronto, or Halifax. To reconcile the absence of a centralized black community in Vancouver, Compton turns to sampling black culture from across the world (with an obvious concentration on the United States) in order to develop and represent his own black identity. The similarities between visual poetry and hip-hop culture, particularly their emphasis on spatial representation, facilitate Compton’s continuing project to create a place for the black community in Vancouver.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
Copyright DateSeptember 2009
Black Canadian literature