The cleverly titled The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry ($21.95, Frontenac) is more than just a collection of verse, even though the subtitle suggests otherwise. Editors Valerie Mason-John and Kevin Anthony Cameron gather excerpts from stage plays, spoken word and poetry to create a vivid picture of Canadian black history. Authors include Lillian Allen, Marlene NourbeSe Philip, Harold Head and many more. George Elliott Clarke, who wrote the introduction, helps launch the book February 14 at University of Toronto's Jackman Humanities Building. See Readings.