Episode 04: Cicely Belle Blain & Makda Mulatu
Manage episode 286000070 series 2884262
Poet and Glass Bookshop Radio podcast producer Makda Mulatu interviews Cicely Belle Blain about their debut poetry collection Burning Sugar, published by VS. Books and Arsenal Pulp Press. It is Cicely Belle Blain’s debut poetry collection wherein they revisit spaces of geography, art, and personal history to expose the legacy of colonization and its impact on Black bodies. Their poetry and their activist work speak to one another: this collection exposes racism, especially anti-Blackness, and uses poetry to render visible the connections between history and systemic oppression that show up in every human interaction, space, and community. Their poems demonstrate how the world is both beautiful and cruel, a truth that inspires overwhelming anger and awe—all of which spills out onto the page to tell the story of a challenging, complexed, nuanced, and joyful life.
In this conversation, Cicely and Makda talk about writing, mentorship, publishing, Black joy, YA fantasy, and more.
Cicely Belle Blain is a Black/mixed, queer femme from London, UK now living on the lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. Their ancestry is a mix of Gambian (Wolof), Jamaican and English. At the heart of all their work, Cicely Belle harnesses their passion for justice, liberation and meaningful change via transformative education, always with laughter, and fearlessly in the face of systemic oppression.
They are noted for founding Black Lives Matter Vancouver and subsequently being listed as one Vancouver’s 50 most powerful people, BC Business’s 30 under 30 and one of 150 Black women and non-binary people making change across Canada. They are now the CEO of Cicely Blain Consulting, social justice-informed diversity and inclusion consulting company with over 200 clients across North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Cicely Belle is an instructor in Executive Leadership at Simon Fraser University and the author of Burning Sugar (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020).
Makda Mulatu is an emerging writer born and raised on Treaty 6 territory in amiskwacîwâskahikan or Edmonton, Alberta. She writes mostly poetry, which has previously appeared in Glass Buffalo, but has also written for University of Alberta International as the Education Abroad Program’s Student Story Writer. Outside of writing, Makda is a figure skating coach, social media manager, and co-producer of the podcast Glass Bookshop Radio for Edmonton’s newest independent bookstore Glass Bookshop. She recently graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA in English and Political Science, as well as a Certificate in International Learning.
Transcript to come.
Buy Burning Sugar.
Follow Cicely Belle Blain on Twitter.
Follow Cicely Belle Blain on Instagram.
Visit Glass Bookshop's website.
Follow Glass Bookshop on Instagram.
Follow Glass Bookshop in Twitter.
Like Glass Bookshop on Facebook.