The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926-7 September 1986

The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926-7 September 1986

by Kamau Brathwaite
     
 

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In May of 1986 Edward Kamau Brathwaite learned that his wife, Doris, was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live.  Responding as a poet, he began “helplessly & spasmodically” to record her passage in a diary.  Zea Mexican is a collection of excerpts from this diary and other notes from this period of the Brathwaites’ lives, and

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Overview

In May of 1986 Edward Kamau Brathwaite learned that his wife, Doris, was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live.  Responding as a poet, he began “helplessly & spasmodically” to record her passage in a diary.  Zea Mexican is a collection of excerpts from this diary and other notes from this period of the Brathwaites’ lives, and few who read this book will fail to be caught up in the depth of Edward Brathwaite’s grief.
    Zea Mexican is a tribute to Doris Brathwaite and an exploration of the creative potency of love.  (The title comes from the name Brathwaite gave Doris, who was originally from Guyana of part Amerindian descent.)  Exposing the intimacy of his  marriage, this book is the closest Brathwaite has ever come to an autobiographical statement.  In examining his life with Doris he found the courage to reveal something of his own character.  But, more than an autobiography, Zea Mexican is an extraordinary work of literature, much of it written in the expressive “nation language” of Jamaica and the Caribbean.  Brathwaite filters his pain through his poetic gift, presenting it to the reader with all the poignancy poetry conveys.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this indefinable text, a diary/memoir and them some, West Indian poet and scholar Kamau Brathwaite conjures his wife, Doris, and tells of her death from cancer. Brathwaite can give even the clichés of death and mourning their flat but real weight."—Village Voice Literary Supplement

"[Kamau Brathwaite is] one of the finest living poets of the Western hemisphere."—London Times

"How important this personal view of the poet, the man, the philosopher, the romantic will be for the Brathwaite scholar! . . . Simply the most riveting, most poetic, most beautifully rendered autobiographical narrative that I've read in a long time. . . .To read Zea is more than simply to peruse a manuscript-it is to participate in a ritual."—Daryl Cumber Dance, author of New World Adams: Conversations with Contemporary West Indian Writer

Booknews
The most personal publication of the great Caribbean poet and cultural critic, The Zea Mexican Diary is a collection of intensely impassioned and griefstricken excerpts from Kamau Brathwaite's diary during the period in 1986 after he learned that his wife, Doris, was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299136444
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
01/28/2003
Series:
Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
230
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are saying about this

Gordon Rohler
It is a tragic irony that this tragedy that made you write this Diary should become your finest poem.
—(Gordon Rohler, author of Path Finder: A Study of the Arribants of Edward Kamau Brathwaite)

Meet the Author

Edward Kamau Brathwaite is professor of comparative literature at New York University. Among his many books of poetry and scholarship are Ancestors, Black + Blues, Masks, Islands, Days and Nights, Middle Passages, Our Ancestral Heritage, and History of the Voice. He received the 1994 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

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