Kamau Brathwaite: Making magic with Liviticus

Repeating Islands

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A review by JEAN ANTOINE-DUNNE for Trinidad’s Newsday.

IT WAS surprising that Kamau Brathwaite’s work, Liviticus, published by the St Martin publishers The House of Nehesi, while being long-listed, did not win the Bocas prize for poetry.

This news came after the judges in “an unprecedented move” also decided not to long-list any works for the non-fiction prize. The latter seemed to be a comment on the current state of Caribbean writing. Of course, the category of non-fiction is a somewhat nebulous one, since it excludes works of reference and apparently seems to also exclude works of literary criticism.

Brathwaite’s work has become increasingly eccentric and fits very neatly into what is called “new poetry” even though he is a poet of some 70 years standing. Over that period, his writings, in particular the first and second trilogies, The Arrivants and Ancestors, and his essays, have had a profound…

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