Zong! Recent Readings

Zong! excerpts. PDFs to read on your personal device  during collective readings of Zong!

Click here for the full Poster



There is no telling this story; it must be told.

On November 29th, 1781, somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean between the coast of West Africa and the island of Jamaica some 150 enslaved Africans are thrown alive overboard on orders of the captain of the slave-ship Zong. The ship had set sail several weeks earlier with an insured “cargo” of 470 enslaved Africans. The massacre would generate a legal battle between the ship’s owners , the Gregsons, and the insurance company, the Gilberts, and is recorded in the brief legal decision, Gregson vs. Gilbert, more colloquially known as the Zong case.

Zong!, the poem, is composed entirely from the words of the found text, Gregson vs. Gilbert. Through fragments of voices, shreds of memory and shards of silence, Zong! unravels the story that can only be told by not telling. It is participatory and ritual; an interplay between noise and silence. Zong! performs even as it unperforms ideas of history and memory, haunting a space where Ancestral voices join with ours through spoken word, music, video, movement and improvisation to create a polyvocal, counterpointed soundscape immersed in the amnesia of history and memory. Zong! is an anti-narrative lament that tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told.


The reading’s focus will be the voice with some percussive interventions. Texts will be provided. Please come for some, all or part of it.

Performers: Poet/Griot, M. NourbeSe Philip and audience

Location: Artscape Young Place, room 109, 180 Shaw St (1 block N of Queen St)

Free admission

twitter: @mnourbese #zongwatchnite2014

facebook page: Zong! Watch Nite – Anniversary Reading 

Related Links:
Videos of previous performances

Video 1


Video 2


Video 3


click here for press about previous performance: http://spiderwebshow.ca/article/zong