A mystical masterwork
This book by the great Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite is characteristically sui generis, vatic, and strange, exhibiting ornery bravura. Tonally and typographically frenetic in the 'sycorax video style' he's been employing for decades, the work examines a major theme appropriate to a great poet in the late stages of his career: that of the afterlife. Brathwaite performs a kind of spiritual/aesthetic GPS in his poetry and is is a poet of undeniable stature, writing the final poems of his career. Central to the book is a series of poems outlining the speaker's (the poet's) experiences with what he calls "Cultural Lynching." These poems speak of appropriation, theft, isolation, and exploitation, all within a context of an American hegemony that intensifies the racial politics and ageism underlying the events described. The speaker's pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in every sense of the word.
Redgrove/Lazarus and the Sea
Lazarus pleads w/the poet fe help im out of im wound
There's such an emptiness on this hillside. . .
O Lazarus my lover
How Beverley? How you?
He rise up during the time of salt
Beech tree fallen among dreams
The Sideways Cauchemar
You don't have no memory on yr tongue. . .
A late but valentine poem
i am the man of dust this hillside. . .
for Lazarus. . . i fear. . .the miracle was nvr perfect. . .
it cd only have been a blemish. . .
the 40 days where i lay dying
first Light – birth – the Beginning. . .
Life is not song or resurrection
There's so much contradiction. . .
Ghost of the Morning
Alice in Wonderland
i am who i am not
if yu cd have brought me back from the dead. . .
The slave ship Beloved
old woman at the Xcrossroad
And now i hear the voices from beyond the grave
i've come to the stage where my [now] words. . .
pale travaille hollow & familiar shell. . .
lazarus lass poem
"Brathwaite's work here is jagged, politically engaged ... Fragments of reportage, song, and dream abut slippery linguistic ruins in his trademark Sycorax video style, which features wildly varying layout and typography."~Publishers Weekly
"This book is Kamau Brathwaite's grand, retrospective understanding of his entire poetics—which has extended and developed and ramified across well over half a century of enormous human change. It is also a culmination of his insistent, original vision. Lazarus, recalled from the dead, is reprised in the history of the collective mind of a once enslaved and now resurrected people—a mind embodied in the individual mind of this magnificent poet and called back to life by his absolute freedom to speak."~Vijay Seshadri, Sarah Lawrence College
"No one writes like Kamau Brathwaite. He is a poet of global importance. The book is an intimate, mystical lens to gaze across time periods and literary modes and frames. The overall effect is mesmerizing, even transcendent, from his lush, mystical descriptions of island nature to his totally unexpected arresting invitation to a beheading. This is a mystical, liberatory, heartbreaking book."~Joyelle McSweeney, author of Dead Youth, or, The Leaks