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Monday March 29, 2010 in Books
The ambition that inspired rapper and MC Baba Brinkman to transpose his performance piece “The Rap Canterbury Tales” to the printed page was his desire to resurrect Chaucer’s brilliant stories from their vellum mausoleum into visible and audible contemporary forms that would once again delight and edify both live listening audiences and readers – a rebirth of what poetry should be in its essence, and once was. Since Chaucer has become an unassailable icon of print culture, and hip-hop is an unassailable icon of contemporary digital cool, he saw this radical new fusion of content and style as the perfect medium to deliver Chaucer’s astonishingly timeless message to a younger generation growing indifferent to the delights of “archaic” literary forms.
This fusion has produced, with both texts reproduced here on facing pages, one of the most exciting and extraordinarily fertile literary documents of our age.
The raps are presented here—along with Chaucer’s original Middle English, Brinkman’s explanatory introductions, and illustrations by his brother and stage manager Erik Brinkman – as the best possible way of telling the story of how these stories came about, and what they were meant to do.
A hugely successful hit at the Edinburgh Festival, Brinkman has worked with the London and Cambridge school systems, rekindling an interest among both performance-poetry fans and students in the work of “the father of the English language.”
ISBN 13: 9780889225480 | ISBN 10: 889225486
6 W x 9 H x 1 D inches | 352 pages
$24.95 CAN / $24.95 US
Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE000000
QUOTES OF NOTE
It’s a fun, crisp, non-literal translation of Chaucer’s work that, at its very best, captures the verve and stylized rhymes of its inspiriation.
– Bloomsbury Review
About the ContributorsBaba Brinkman
Brinkman started rapping in 1998 at the age of nineteen, and he brings a rare literary aesthetic to his rap-poetry. Since graduating he has produced and distributed two full-length albums independently, Swordplay and The Rap Canterbury Tales.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.