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poet Maxine Tynes

by Pam Harris | February 24, 1997

Maxine Tynes has lived her life in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where her heritage stretches back to the time of the Black Loyalists. She draws heavily on this in her poetry. This excerpt is from a book collection published through Second Story Press called, “Faces of Feminism.”

women
we keepers and sharers of ancient secrets
of loving
and making homes of houses
of loving
and making love
of loving
and making life
of loving
and making our men whole
of loving
and being women, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers
strong, aunts, free, grandmothers, constant, nieces,
women, and Black
we women of colour
distant daughters of
the Nile, the Sahara, Kenya, Zaire, Sudan
the Serengeti
we dance the body-music of light and shadow
we share the palette spectrum
the obsidian sunshade
burnished blue-black brown tantan sepia
coffeecoffee cream ebony
delight of womanskin
strong in
alive in
free in
loving in
working in
laughing in
sharing in
mothering in
growing in
aging in
this skin
this night shade of many shades
this womanskin
we women
keepers and sharers of ancient secrets

Here’s what Second Story Press told us about themselves. "Second Story Press is a feminist book publisher whose list includes adult fiction and non-fiction as well as non-racist and non-sexist children's books. Broad in scope, our titles attempt to explore the needs, interests and concerns of women so over the years we have published books focusing on women's health, current issues, food and nutrition, and women's art, criticism, history and biography. Every year, we also release a new edition of the popular entertainment calendar The Women's Daybook. There are various ways to contact us for ordering information:

email: secstory@fox.nstn.ca
toll free tel. 800-565-9523
tel. (416) 537-7850
fax (416) 537-0058

resources for this story
  • Excerpt reproduced with permission from Faces of Feminism: A Photo Documentation by Pamela Harris, published by Second Story Feminist Press.
  • Maxine Tynes' poetry may be found in: Borrowed Beauty (1987), Woman Talking Woman (1990), Save the World for Me (1991) & The Door of My Heart (1993).
  • For an overall history of blacks in Canada and perspectives on black nation-builders: Ken Alexander and Avis Glaze, Towards Freedom: The African-Canadian Experience, 1996 (Umbrella Press, Toronto)
  • For an overview of the history of black women in Canada : Adrienne Shad, "300 Years of Black Women in Canadian History: circa 1700-1980", Tiger Lily, Vol. 1, Issue 2. This can be hard to find, but it is included in this resource kit.
  • For a hands-on resource set for students : Black Women in Canada - Past and Present, available from Green Dragon Press, 135 George Street South, #902, Toronto, ON M5A 4E8, Phone: (416) 251-6366 Fax (416) 251-6365
  • For profiles of black women in Canada: Rella Braithwaite and Tessa Benn-Treland, Some Black Women, 1993 (Sister Vision, Toronto)
  • See also the James R. Johnston Chair in Black Studies, Dalhouse University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

This feature was first published on section15.ca's predecessor site CoolWomen.

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