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MiddlePassages: Poetry

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Middle Passages is an offshoot of the author's second trilogy, 'a splice of time & space', as he puts it, between his/father's world of Sun Poem and 'the magical irrealism' of X/Self. With his other 'shorter' collections Black + Blues and Third World Poems, Middle Passages creates a kind of chisel which may well lead us into a projected third trilogy. Here is a political a Middle Passages is an offshoot of the author's second trilogy, 'a splice of time & space', as he puts it, between his/father's world of Sun Poem and 'the magical irrealism' of X/Self. With his other 'shorter' collections Black + Blues and Third World Poems, Middle Passages creates a kind of chisel which may well lead us into a projected third trilogy. Here is a political angle to Brathwaite's Caribbean & New World quest, with new notes of protest and lament. It marks a Sisyphean stage of Third World history in which things fall apart and everyone's achievements come tumbling back down upon their heads and into their hearts, like the great stone which King Sisyphus was condemned to keep heaving back up the same hill in hell - a postmodernist implosion already signalled by Baldwin, Patterson, Soyinka and Achebe and more negatively by V.S. Naipaul; but given a new dimension here by Brathwaite's rhythmical and 'video' affirmations. And so Middle Passages includes poems for those modern heroes who are the pegs by which the mountain must be climbed again: Maroon resistance, the poets Nicolas Guillen, the Cuban revolutionary, and Mikey Smith, stoned to death on Stony Hill; the great musicians (Ellington, Bessie Smith); and Third World leaders Kwame Nkrumah, Walter Rodney and Nelson Mandela.


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Middle Passages is an offshoot of the author's second trilogy, 'a splice of time & space', as he puts it, between his/father's world of Sun Poem and 'the magical irrealism' of X/Self. With his other 'shorter' collections Black + Blues and Third World Poems, Middle Passages creates a kind of chisel which may well lead us into a projected third trilogy. Here is a political a Middle Passages is an offshoot of the author's second trilogy, 'a splice of time & space', as he puts it, between his/father's world of Sun Poem and 'the magical irrealism' of X/Self. With his other 'shorter' collections Black + Blues and Third World Poems, Middle Passages creates a kind of chisel which may well lead us into a projected third trilogy. Here is a political angle to Brathwaite's Caribbean & New World quest, with new notes of protest and lament. It marks a Sisyphean stage of Third World history in which things fall apart and everyone's achievements come tumbling back down upon their heads and into their hearts, like the great stone which King Sisyphus was condemned to keep heaving back up the same hill in hell - a postmodernist implosion already signalled by Baldwin, Patterson, Soyinka and Achebe and more negatively by V.S. Naipaul; but given a new dimension here by Brathwaite's rhythmical and 'video' affirmations. And so Middle Passages includes poems for those modern heroes who are the pegs by which the mountain must be climbed again: Maroon resistance, the poets Nicolas Guillen, the Cuban revolutionary, and Mikey Smith, stoned to death on Stony Hill; the great musicians (Ellington, Bessie Smith); and Third World leaders Kwame Nkrumah, Walter Rodney and Nelson Mandela.

30 review for MiddlePassages: Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Pogan

    This is a real mixed bag of poetry. Some of it quite good, some of it beyond my ability too appreciate. Most of it is about the murderous treatment that black people have been subjected to over history and is delivered with anger and hatred. But some of the poem are tributes to black peoples contribution to music. The poems were fairly long and drifted into abstraction at times. I've taken parts of a couple of the poems that I liked as examples: This first one is about Columbus titled Colombe. "Co This is a real mixed bag of poetry. Some of it quite good, some of it beyond my ability too appreciate. Most of it is about the murderous treatment that black people have been subjected to over history and is delivered with anger and hatred. But some of the poem are tributes to black peoples contribution to music. The poems were fairly long and drifted into abstraction at times. I've taken parts of a couple of the poems that I liked as examples: This first one is about Columbus titled Colombe. "Columbus from his after- deck watched heights he hoped for rocks he dreamed. rise solid from my simple water Parrots screamed. Soon he would touch our land. his charted mind's desire The blue sky blessed the morning with its fire But did his vision fashion as he watched the shore the slaughter that his soldiers furthered here? Pike point & musket butt hot splintered courage. bones cracked with bullet shot tipped black boot in my belly. the whips uncurled desire?" The next example is titled Duke. "The old man's hands are alligator skins and swimming easily like these along the harp stringed keyboard where he will make of Solitude a silver thing as if great age like his could play that tune along these cracks that flow between their swing without a scratch of thistle sound & whistle down the rhythm all night long"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Interesting and pleasent. I was particularly intrigued by the way the narraror talked.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.A.

    A rhythmic, entrancing, inciting set of poems. Meaty and meaningful and come out with their fists swinging.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew DeCostanza

    Just as Allen Ginsberg is the child of Whitman and Blake, so Brathewaite is the child of Cummings and Achebe. I appreciate the Cummings-like grammatical liberties, and Brathewaite has written some rather genius lines ("You're nothing. You came from nobody. Third class servant class got-no-class underclass"), but I, having read so much American poetry, can only read about the jazz greats and civil rights and Mother Africa so many times before I get bored. Sorry. Just as Allen Ginsberg is the child of Whitman and Blake, so Brathewaite is the child of Cummings and Achebe. I appreciate the Cummings-like grammatical liberties, and Brathewaite has written some rather genius lines ("You're nothing. You came from nobody. Third class servant class got-no-class underclass"), but I, having read so much American poetry, can only read about the jazz greats and civil rights and Mother Africa so many times before I get bored. Sorry.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gwyneth Davidson

    This book of poetry shows the author's thoughts on social matters in the West Indies from the 1960s to 1980s. The material is sometimes personal, but many times it is an overview of the prevailing conditions in the countries, especially in Jamaica. This book of poetry shows the author's thoughts on social matters in the West Indies from the 1960s to 1980s. The material is sometimes personal, but many times it is an overview of the prevailing conditions in the countries, especially in Jamaica.

  6. 5 out of 5

    katie

    Incredible

  7. 4 out of 5

    Britton

    father of dub poetry

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna Samson

  9. 5 out of 5

    dlpoetx

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  11. 5 out of 5

    Norman

  12. 5 out of 5

    Greg Kemble

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Kern

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aidan Daley-hynes

  17. 5 out of 5

    Philip Jones

  18. 4 out of 5

    Leo Dunsker

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Tammaro

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lane Po

  21. 4 out of 5

    Radia

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  23. 5 out of 5

    R.K. Cowles

    4 1/2 stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    H.R. Hegnauer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tisa

  26. 5 out of 5

    anon

  27. 5 out of 5

    Khurshid Ahmed

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sohum

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Reanna Julien

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