Academic journal article ARIEL

KB in Utah

Academic journal article ARIEL

KB in Utah

Article excerpt

10 Nov 06

wish thank Natasha for visualizing this eVent & making it possible emerging these wonderful protean Qs and for so diligently preserving this txt & giving me the opp to xchange w/her students who were deeply & perceptively - sympathetically but critically - reeding some of my work

this moment is livicated to natasha and her students

NS: I'd like to know about your beginnings as an artist. When you first began to read and write, were you drawn to poetry?

KB: i think always words, words were the poem (1). Trying to create images, and not just images but i was aware that i needed to create a native image. i stress this word native because of the destruction of the sense of nativity and birth, the whole thing a-bout a slave woman not being able to give birth to a free child

i was born on the seashore so i was aware of the movement of the water and i saw the ocean. That must have done something. But i wanted to write even at the age of twelve, i wanted to say 'how was the genesis of the Caribbean.' i wanted to do what was done in the Bible, about how God created the earth. But it had to be done as a Caribbean, as a Barbadian person. And that was my challenge: how to find a way to do that. That's really what i'm still tryin to do

When i tried to do that big one, about how God created the Caribbean, the origin of the waves, and thing (s) like that, i became aware that words were not enough. It was riddim & song as well. Seismology. Because i sensed the sound of waves breaking on the shore, so i knew that sense of natural song was important and the variation of the wave-heights << gave me, like the Pacific Islanders, a sense of undulation, also a sense of horizon, that unlimited <<<< spherence that the line of the horizon make; at the same time that defined/indefinable liminal feel; that tidalectic, curvilinear fling -

And then how to write 'wave'. How to write 'wave', not just how to say 'wave,' but how to write 'wave', how to create words that meant 'wave' w/out saying 'wave'. My 'nemesis' was John Keats because his poems, his thing about the star, "O Star", as though i were something as thou art - that pure star there ... And i transferred 'star' to 'pool', because of the beach-pools of my wave-shore, and i had to say 'Pool, i am as lonely as thou art' - though i was realizing that this kind of imitation is a danger, and that there was an intervention in my imagination there coming from 'elsewhere', from 'outside'

Student: Do you find that imitation is an impediment, or is it part of nation-language?

KB: Imitation - really apprenticeship - is part of human/animal learning, but it becomes more & more an 'impediment' the more it is mediated from 'outside'

We are speaking of colonial situations here, where imitation, if you not careful, leads you more & more away from your own 'native', since that's the project of colonialism - to encourage you into the loyal subaltern imitation of the Other/the Master/Prospero. nation-language is the rebellion against this kind of criminal colonial initiation. So let me try to say what i'm trying to say here in terms of nation-language

As soon as i begin to understand that my Bajan 'pool' is my Bajan pool and not John Keats' 'star', i'm moving from imitation to apprenticeship to nation-language - i.e nativist - culture of understan (d)ing even interstanding and i'm going to begin to try to write wave and feel/know that wave w/in the context of my own geography, history, culture - literary tradition - based upon yr own sensibility and sense. And these senses have a lot to do with sound

In other words - to use the language of nation-language discourse - there's going to be a change from imitation to 'reality' as you move from John Keats' 'star' to Caribbean beach-pool w/its context/reality of wave-child, sound, space, beauty, hurricane -where you dealing not w/'Ariel' but w/Caliban, and you're dealing w/sycoraX and w/alteration and w/magic & sacred realism and surrealism. …

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