Montreal-based Kaie Kellough is known for his percussive, spoken word poetry. His performances often mix poetry with soundscapes and music. He manages to capture that same sense of rhythm in his printed works.
In his second book of poetry entitled, Maple Leaf Rag, Kellough touches on the themes of Canadian history intertwined with current events that are often not told in the mainstream media. It’s a jazz-infused riff on Canadian culture that explores themes such as belonging, dislocation and relocation, and national identity from a black Canadian perspective. The poems contain numerous references to black Canadian Caribbean and African American culture: from hairstyles to slave cemeteries, athletics to immigration, musicians to rainbow coalitions.
The challenge in the design of the book was to take a silent medium and give it a sense of movement, sound and rhythm. The aim was for the book design to reflect both written word and musical score. It achieves this with a unique arrangement of text and form as well as through the use of mixed media.