As if convinced that all divination of the future is somehow a revisioning of the past, Kwame Dawes reminds us of the clairvoyance of haunting. The lyric poems in ‘City of Bones’ constitute a restless jeremiad for our times, and Dawes’s inimitable voice peoples this collection with multitudes of souls urgently and forcefully singing, shouting, groaning, and dreaming.
From well-known and award-winning authors-including Bernardine Evaristo, Fred D’Aguiar, and Leone Ross-to previous unpublished writers, this ambitious and intriguing anthology of short stories showcases each author’s most challenging work. These works from writers who are happy to describe themselves as Black British, have a rich variety of styles, forms, and themes, from raw realism, the erotic, and elegant economy, to the fanciful, humorous, and the tender.
The contributors to Closure display a keen awareness of the short story form in all its contemporary possibilities as a way of telling and finding a form for the writer’s vision. These are stories about the ways in which we do and do not love, unrequited yearnings, the quiet and often hidden violence in our lives, moments of epiphany, and the precious occasions of jubilation and uplift.
A brave, exciting and adult collection that entertains with wit, shocks with frankness, and engages both intellect and emotion. Richly varied, it ranges from extended stories to intense pieces of flash fiction. Stories may be set in realistic settings – but develop magical narrative twists that make us see all afresh. Others begin in fantasy – returnees from the dead, a man who finds discarded hymens – but are so skilfully realist we can only believe in their actuality.
Shivanee Ramlochan’s poems take the reader through a series of imaginative narratives that are at once emotionally familiar and compelling, even as the characters evoked and the happenings they describe are heavily symbolic. Her poems reference the language and structural patterns of the genres of fantasy or speculative fiction, though with her own distinctive features, including the presence of such folkloric Trinidadian figures as the Duenne, those wandering lost spirits whose feet point backwards. Her characters are variously described as soldier, thaumaturge, surgeon and much else, and her speakers live in a world that is located somewhere between the fantastic and the ordinary, everyday world of school buses, home chores and domesticity.
Combining life-writing with poetic prose, Anthony Joseph gets to the heart of the man behind the music and the myth, reaching behind the sobriquet to present a holistic portrait of the calypso icon Lord Kitchener.
The poet and musician Anthony Joseph met and spoke to Lord Kitchener just once, in 1984, when he found the calypso icon standing alone for a moment in the heat of Port of Spain s Queen’s Park Savannah, one Carnival Monday afternoon. It was a pivotal meeting in which the great calypsonian, outlined his musical vision, an event which forms a moving epilogue to Kitch, Joseph’s unique biography of the Grandmaster.
Lord Kitchener (1922 – 2000) was one of the most iconic and prolific calypso artists of the 20th century. He was one of calypso’s most loved exponents, an always elegantly dressed troubadour with old time male charisma and the ability to tap into the musical and cultural consciousness of the Caribbean experience. Born into colonial Trinidad in 1922, he emerged in the 1950s, at the forefront of multicultural Britain, acting as an intermediary between the growing Caribbean community, the islands they had left behind, and the often hostile conditions of life in post War Britain. In the process Kitch, as he was affectionally called, single handedly popularised the calypso in Britain.
Ricantations will reinforce the perception of Loretta Collins Klobah as superb poetic story-teller with a compassionate and radical womanist vision, alert to the multi-layered reality of Puerto Rican life, where shiny modernity gives way to spirit presences. There are absorbingly reflective poems on Velasquez’ paintings of an hyperphagic child, painted both naked and clothed, a stray horse that hangs around the poet’s property, homunculi in glass bottles in a teaching hospital, the keeper of a butterfly farm, a high-wire circus family, and the irony of Nathan Leopold (with Loeb, the perpetrator of a famously brutal crime in the USA) becoming the expert on Puerto Rican bird life.
Poems begin from the most fantastic premises – a Che Guevera club in heaven with prizes for the coolest Che impersonator – then line by rich baroque line open up her island’s secret heart, revealing a society under multiple pressures even before Hurricane Maria, about which the title poem offers a brilliantly hallucinatory picture. Love must always be mixed with despair in a society where the reckless machismo of New Year gunfire kills a young woman, and older men prey on schoolgirls.
New World English and Spanish rub shoulders in these poems, but the reader soon picks up the precise, word-loving, observant rhythms of the poet’s own voice, a voice which has space for humour, as in a witty sequence of Jamaican poems about the attraction to men of women of ample size. There are more personal and intimate poems – memories of her mother’s psychiatric hospitalisation, of her own struggles with size and health, and the vulnerability of the body when a hurricane can strip life back to its hazardous basics.
Presenting some of the most noteworthy pieces from a remarkably influential West Indian poet, this anthology sheds light on the lesser-known literary accomplishments of Una Marson. Revealing the work of a woman whose writing pioneered the articulation of gender and racial oppression, brought Jamaican vernacular voices alongside a Wordsworth-inspired passion for nature, and ventured to give subjectivity to marginalized subjects, this collection includes, in addition to her well-known poems, previously unpublished work from the 1930s through the 1950s. Striving to answer the question of how one writes as a modern black woman reaching out to the poor and powerless, this extensive selection embodies an exceptionally significant poetic achievement.