Running the Dusk

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Peepal Tree, 2010 - Poetry - 81 pages
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Christian Campbell takes us to dusk, what the French call l'heure entre chien et loup, the hour between dog and wolf, to explore ambiguity and intersection, danger and desire, loss and possibility. These poems of wild imagination shift shape and shift generation, remapping Caribbean, British and African American geographies: Oxford becomes Oxfraud; Shabba Ranks duets with Cesaire; Sidney Poitier is reconsidered in an exam question; market women hawk poetry beside knock-off Gucci bags; elegies for ancestors are also for land and sea. Here is dancing at the crossroads between reverence and irreverence. Dusk is memory, dusk is dream, dusk is a way to re-imagine the past.

"Running the Dusk gives us a new voice for Caribbean arts and letters, and Christian Campbell is one of the few perfectly suited to accept this mantle...If you're holding Running the Dusk in your hands, you are lucky to be facing the gutsy work of a long-distance runner who possesses the wit and endurance, the staying power of authentic genius."---Yusef Komunyakaa

"A truly auspicious debut by a brilliant young writer of wide-open ear and versatile tongue. Campbell's imagery slices through fog; these poems are nourished by New World etymologies and old-school ways and wisdoms. His use of poetic form is drum-tight and yet these poems unfold like the infinity of a coast-line, sinuous and generous. In the black diaspora Campbell writes from and about, `all angels have afros' and all poems are song...This is a heralding book we'll be talking about for a long time to come."---Elizabeth Alexander

"[...] Campbell's attention to the specifics of terrain (emotional and physical) through color (molasses, rum, bronze, blue chiffon) and through his tonal palette that distinguishes this book. Campbell shows himself here as a true craftsman:'...But she is just twirling, / which her singing tells and tells. It is just that. / Her plaits are countless today, full of blue / bird barrettes. All else are staring, /sensible and still. The girl gives a whirl.' Running the Dusk places Campbell firmly on the map."---Martha Rhodes

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About the author (2010)

Christian Campbell studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. His poetry and essays have been published widely in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and North America. He has received grants and fellowships from Cave Canem, the Arvon Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center and elsewhere. He lives in Toronto.

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