It is not wise to waste the life / Against a stubborn will. / Yet would we die as some have done. / Beating a way for the rising sun wrote Arna Bontemps. In The Day-Breakers, poet Michael Fraser imagines the swords raised and lives lost by the thousands of Black soldiers who fought for the Union during the American Civil War—of whom hundreds were Canadian, fighting for the freedom of their African Brethren. Commemorating the dismal treatment they experienced at the hands of Confederates and White Union soldiers alike, and brilliantly capturing the language and rhythms of their voices and the era in which they lived and fought, Fraser’s The Day-Breakers is a powerful and original new perspective on Black experience.
Praise for Michael Fraser
“Fraser’s poetry provides rich pieces to share and consider. This is a collection that teachers should be teaching across the country.” —Jael Richardson, Toronto Star
“With a rare sort of graceful simplicity, [Fraser] takes readers boldly by the wrist and thrusts them into a room full of voices―a party where inventor Elijah McCoy is having a cocktail with astronomer Neil de Grasse Tyson, ex-president Barack Obama listens to boxing heavyweight champion Jack Johnson recount a famous bout and Howlin’ Wolf smokes a spliff while Maya Angelou reads aloud to entertain the crowd.” —Lori Fox, Arc Poetry Magazine
“The poems are revelatory, educative, and inspirational. They tell (or retell differently) stories of heroes—some admired, loved; but many unsung, forgotten … That this is a historically significant book is evident on every page.” —Mayank Bhatt, generallyaboutbooks.com
“The poems in Fraser’s To Greet Yourself Arriving stand fiercely on their own as poems, tight and clear and clean, but as a chorus this book raises itself to a beautiful black sound.” —Michael Dennis, michaeldennispoet.blogspot.ca