An Introduction to West Indian Poetry by Laurence A. Breiner

By Laurence A. Breiner

This advent to West Indian poetry is written for readers making their first method of the poetry of the Caribbean written in English. It bargains a accomplished literary historical past from the Nineteen Twenties to the Eighties, with specific consciousness to the connection of West Indian poetry to ecu, African and American literature. shut readings of person poems provide exact research of social and cultural concerns at paintings within the writing. Laurence Breiner's exposition speaks powerfully in regards to the defining forces in Caribbean tradition from colonialism to resistance and decolonization.

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If the conception of the West Indies as a cultural entity was to be anything but a purely cerebral accomplishment, several conditions had to be met in the West Indies. Mervyn Morris puts the case succinctly: In the last decade conditions for the writer in the West Indies have improved. 8 The community of authors themselves might provide the germ of an audience, but there is an essential need for "critics"; that is, for talkative, responsive readers. In a pinch, writers may play this role for one another, and much of local criticism in the West Indies is still grounded on this principle that writers live by taking in each other's washing.

Hence the failure on the political and economic planes of Federation. " For him, a sense of shared enterprise was what could give West Indian poetry strength, and as an example of what could be possible he cited 7 8 An Introduction to West Indian Poetry the work of George Campbell, Roger Mais, and other Jamaican writers associated with the literary journal Focus and the Peoples National Party (PNP) of Norman Manley in the 1940s. If the conception of the West Indies as a cultural entity was to be anything but a purely cerebral accomplishment, several conditions had to be met in the West Indies.

A more dramatic choice is the rejection of classical forms altogether, as in Roumain's powerful poem on the same subject, "Quand bat le tam-tam" (1931): Ton coeur tremble dans l'ombre, comme le reflet d'un visage dans Ponde troublee L'ancien mirage se leve au creux de la nuit Tu connais le doux sortilege du souvenir Unfleuvet'emporte loin des berges, Entends-tu ces voix: dies chantent l'amoureuse douleur Et dans le morne, ecoute ce tam-tam haleter telle la gorge d'une noire jeune fille. Ton ame, c'est le reflet dans Peau murmurante ou tes peres ont penche leurs obscurs visages Et le blanc qui tefitmulatre, c'est ce peu d'ecume rejete, comme un crachat, sur le rivage.

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