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Book Review: “This Script is From the Past” by Samantha Blair White

The state of Canadian literature is made better by author and artist Samantha Blair White and their latest work, This Script is From the Past. Their is less a collection of poetry, and more an artistic meditation on their life, experiences, and the world around them. Their re-framing and re-contextualization of their own trauma is nothing less than inspiring. 

A New Take on Poetry

White is unafraid to experiment with genre and form to tell their story. This is more of a collection of poetic vignettes, used to process horrific trauma and abuse. They use images from their surroundings to reflect on their past and present. They are able to confront these periods in their life with unflinching honesty, in few words at a time. 

These short snippets are so effective, because the horror is made all the more real in these bite-sized reflections. Rather than lengthy essays describing viscerally disgusting experiences, White focuses on the impact that these experiences continue to have on their lives. Readers are then asked to do the same, and discover this same level of self-awareness. 

Harsh Truths, Bright Hope

White has a particular way of wielding a razor-sharp wit and pithy phrasing in This Script is From the Past to epically call people out who had it coming. This is the way to take people to task. The call-outs are direct, specific, and completely justified. There aren’t any names, becuase there don’t need to be. 

In particular, White’s reflection on family legacy in ‘Family Inheritance’ is poignant, heartbreaking, and utterly revolutionary. It’s an authentic look at shattered expectations and the process of picking up the pieces of a broken life. 

Courageous Voice in a Dangerous Time

In a time when reproductive rights are under attack around the world, White’s experience is a critical one to reflect on. They have spoken extensively about their experiece of being pregnant, as well as pregnancy loss. This is more necessary than ever. These are stories that are too often stigmatized. However, this is a reality that needs to be confronted with courage.

Samantha Blair White is a breath of fresh air on the Canadian literary scene. Few have the inner fortitude to confront such profound hurt, loss, and violence with such grace and candor. This is the kind of inner work that so many need to complete if the cycle of violence and abuse is to be broken. We should all be so fortunate as to find that light within ourselves. 

This Script is From the Past is available now

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