Come Back to Me My Language: Poetry and the West Indies

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University of Illinois Press, Jan 1, 1993 - Social Science - 325 pages
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In the last fifty years a powerful and distinctive body of poetry has emerged in the West Indies. Unique in its combination of African sources and British colonial traditions, and still resonating with the curse of slavery, this poetry shares its roots with rap and reggae and has the same hold on the popular imagination. But it has also become part of the English literary heritage and has received international recognition with the work of Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Lorna Goodison, and the 1992 Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. Come Back to Me My Language is the first comprehensive study of this remarkable body of contemporary poetry. Writing with clarity and vigor, J. Edward Chamberlin discusses the work of more than thirty poets and performers and gives detailed analyses of the major ones. He provides historical and social background to the poetry and places it within the context of current literary criticism. Chamberlin shows how the poets, in rediscovering their language and the freedom to use it, have given their people a new way to see themselves and to look at others.
 

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A thorough examination of West Indian poetry, that is the poetry of the Anglophone Caribbean. Focused, not surprisingly, on the literature of the period since 1930. 1930, of course, is the year that ... Read full review

Contents

Where then is the niggers home?
30
Come back to me my language
67
To court the language of my people
109
Loose now the salt cords binding our tongues
153

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About the author (1993)

J. Edward Chamberlin was born in Vancouver and educated at the universities of British Columbia, Oxford and Toronto. He is now University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. His books include The Harrowing of Eden: White Attitudes Towards Native Americans (1975), Ripe Was the Drowsy Hour: The Age of Oscar Wilde (1977), Come Back to Me My Language: Poetry and the West Indies (1993), and If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories?: Finding Common Ground (2003).

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