In Performance Bond, Wayde Compton, among the most progressive and experimental poets in Canada, defiantly and eloquently confronts the globalization and commodification of Black culture.
With poetry inspired by the insistent cadences of hip-hop and jazz, Compton fuses language, history, and contemporary Black politics. He deals with Black diaspora at the outer rim of geography and culture, concerned with the legacy of the slave trade, the memory and origins of hip-hop, and the ramifications of urban renewal on North America's inner cities.
Performance Bond, is supplemented with a CD that is a recording of Compton's musical performance of one of the book's sections, "The Reinventing Wheel," featuring the turntable mixing of his reading of the poem, prerecorded on vinyl, with musical beats, breaks, and samples.
There is a hip hop flavour and cadence to these pieces, to be sure, but it's hip hop written by a bloody genius, or at least someone with a dizzying command of the language.
The flexibility with which this book approaches both poetry and race deserves special attention. The way Compton sings the strange blues of our time will keep readers humming and thinking at the same time.
The concept of Performance Bond is exciting.
In Performance Bond, Wayde Compton is on a fabulous roll of his own.