The Rap Canterbury TalesFront Cover
  • View Cart
  • .
  • $24.95

    ISBN: 9780889225480 | Paperback

    352 pages | Pub. Date: 20060901
    6.00 W × 9.00 H × 1 D inches
    Backlist | Poetry | Bisac: POE023000
    Rights: WORLD


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 his brother and stage manager Erik’s illustrations—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.”

“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 inspiration.”
Bloomsbury Review

By Baba 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.

Read more about Baba Brinkman

Illustrated by Erik Brinkman

Erik Brinkman grew up in Vancouver and honed his craft as a graffiti artist and stained glass practitioner. He draws his inspiration from his travelling adventures overseas as well as his tree-planting experiences in British Columbia, Alberta, Costa Rica, Australia and Ecuador, where he also apprenticed with a Quechua shaman for six months in the Amazon.

Read more about Erik Brinkman

Access Onix Code

OtherText Code 08:

news | 2014-08-06
Baba Brinkman in The Guardian on Poetry and Rap

…Festival – Underbelly Baba Brinkman, author of The Rap Canterbury Tales , is currently in the United Kingdom performing … on July 30, 2014. Here is a brief excerpt: The Rap Canterbury Tales was a spin-off of my English master’s thesis, …

news | 2013-10-30
Baba Brinkman Back in Vancouver with Rap Guide to Evolution

…he performed it alongside two sister shows, and “The Rap Canterbury Tales” (published as a book in 2003). “The Rap Guide to …

news | 2013-05-16
Baba Brinkman’s Evolutionary Tales Series in NYC

…Baba Brinkman, author of The Rap Canterbury Tales , presents three off-Broadway shows as part of …

news | 2011-01-28
Baba Brinkman at CUSP Conference 2010

…he took his award-winning hip-hop theatre show The Rap Canterbury Tales around the world, including two tours of …

news | 2011-01-27
BASH'd is out!

…Canterbury Tales and The Ancient Mariner and even The Rap Canterbury Tales. The words and lyrics are a credit to the energy …

news | 2010-12-21
The Pardoner's Tale - Baba Brinkman

…Baba Brinkman raps the Pardoner’s Tale from The Rap Canterbury Tales at Bede’s World, South Tyneside in …

news | 2010-09-08
Off That (Rationalist Anthem) - Baba Brinkman

…Baba Brinkman is the author of The Rap Canterbury Tales. Check it, yo. …