Skip to main content

A detail from a page in The City Speaks in Drums.

Spoken-word artist Shauntay Grant is Halifax's poet laureate. She struts her stuff in this vibrant picture book that combines both her favoured medium of expression and her obvious and deep affection for her hometown, Nova Scotia's capital city. Any of this book's energy and exuberance that can't be communicated in words is conveyed visually via Susan Tooke's gorgeous swaths of paint that bring the city, its streets and its people to eye-popping life on the page. Grant and Tooke have worked their dual magic before, in Up Home (2008, also by Nimbus).





On the opening double-page spread, two boys can be seen through a high wire fence, shooting hoops in a school playground, watched by an enthusiastic audience of their peers. The narrator gets the beat going with these words: "Young child runs stick 'cross fence near basketball courts/ hear young brothas dribblin'/ grippin' the ball with they grip/ then pass with a whip/ whip quick 'round jerseys and then/ pull back, release, up and in/ ball whips through rim …"

A laughter-filled war with water pistols replaces the basketball for a moment or two, and then the boys are off again, running past "squaretown barbecues beneath gold rays and rainbow hues/ skies of blues …" Then they're pounding up Gottingen Street, past the Armoury, past the skateboarders and past the drummers jamming outside the bank and in front of the library until they're "poppin' and lockin'/ hip hoppin'/ on the waterfront/ the city speaks in drums/ the city speaks in drums!"

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter