Dead White Men


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by Shane Rhodes

Juxtaposing the seemingly benign names of Europeans that permeate our geographies with the details of their so-called discoveries and conquests, Dead White Men turns ideas of exploration, discovery, finding and keeping back upon themselves. Engaging with exploration and scientific texts from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries – texts wrapped up in the history and ongoing present of colonization – this collection builds a fascinating poetry of memory out of histories that are largely forgotten.

‘A provocative and galvanizing read … Riveting and dazzling invention is visible on almost every page: fonts shift size, language cascades and cleaves, and images disrupt order. Dead White Men should be widely read and taught.’

– Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning

Dead White Men is not only a searing indictment of colonialism but also a painful reminder of the violence that underpins the logic of exploration. Each poem strikes at the heart of the issue: there are often unarticulated, unacknowledged Indigenous presences here that have been flattened over by the lies and mirages of empty landscapes. Dead White Men is a stinging and difficult journey, and one that continues to remind us that stolen land has always been the most pressing concern for Indigenous peoples and settlers. This is an absolutely essential book.’

– Jordan Abel, author of Injun

Shane Rhodes is the author of five books of poetry, and has won awards including an Alberta Book Award and the National Magazine Gold Award for poetry. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.