Born to Slow Horses

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Kamau Brathwaite’s newest work, Born to Slow Horses, is a series of poetic meditations on islands and exile, language and ritual, and the force of personal and historical passions and griefs. These poems are haunted, figuratively and literally, by spirits of the African diaspora and drenched in the colors, sounds, and rhythms of the islands. But they also encompass the world of the exile and return, and the events of 9/11 in New York City. Brathwaite is one of the foremost voices in postcolonial inquiry and expression, and his poetry is densely rooted and expansive.

Using his unusual “sycorax” signature typography and spelling, Brathwaite brings a cultural specificity, with distinct accents, sonic gestures, and pronunciations, into his pages—making them new, exciting, and rich in nuances.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“If…we believe that poetry must move the reader on an intellectual and visceral level, so that the reader is inspired to return to it and re-read again and again, then Born to Slow Horses promises to stand the test of time”—Harold Heft, The Gazette, Montreal
Publishers Weekly
Omnivorously synthetic, insistently local, sinuously syncopated and consistently exciting, Brathwaite's "nation language" has placed him among the most admired writers of the English-speaking Caribbean. This 22nd book of verse shows off his explosive range of technical innovations- in stanza form, dialect, even layout and typography-in seven adventurous medium-length works. One sequence describes coastlines and islands as seen from the air. Another adopts the voice of a girl who may be a slave remembering the Middle Passage or a modern youth encountering its ghosts: "my mother say i be alone/ and when i cry," she muses, "i be Columbus of my ships/ and sail the garden round the tears that fall into my hand." Other sequences focus on generational succession and on hopeful, endangered or murdered children, invoking the Jamaican ritual called kumina, the myth of Osiris, the biblical binding of Isaac and the lives of Brathwaite's own extended family. Though critics admire and writers imitate him all over the globe, the Barbadian poet (who teaches at New York University) has never developed a broad U.S. readership: this complicated but accessible volume gives him his best chance in years to do just that. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819567451
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 8/30/2005
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

KAMAU BRATHWAITE, born in Barbados in 1930, is an internationally celebrated poet, performer, and cultural theorist. Co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement, he was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and has a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex in the U.K. He has served on the board of directors of UNESCO’s History of Mankind project since 1979, and as cultural advisor to the government of Barbados from 1975-79 and since 1990.

His awards include the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bussa Award, the Casa de las Américas Prize, and the Charity Randall Prize for Performance and Written Poetry. He has received both Guggenheim and Fulbrights fellowships, among many others. His book The Zea Mexican Diary (1993) was the Village Voice Book of the Year. Over the years, he has worked in the Ministry of Education in Ghana, and taught at the University of the West Indies, Southern Illinois University, the University of Nairobi, Boston University, Holy Cross College, Yale, and was a visiting fellow at Harvard. Brathwaite is currently Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University, and shares his time between CowPastor, Barbados and New York City.

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Table of Contents

I -The Master of the Mary Jones - Bermudas - Guanahani
II - Donna - Days & Nights - Iwa
III - MMassaccourraamann
IIII - 'I was wash-way in blood'- Bread - Dear PM
V - Kumina
9/11 - Hawk
VII - Namesetoura - Mountain - The Robin Poem

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