The chief feature of Caribbean societies is their extreme heterogeneity, which is the product of several centuries of slavery and indentured labour organized into plantation colonies in order to generate profit for Europeans. The contemporary Caribbean is also notable for a restless energy that domesticates language to local rhythms and intonations, while propelling many of its writers into diasporic movement from the homes to which their ancestors were transplanted. Caribbean plurality partakes equally of the exuberant and the troubled. Its logic of self-discovery is driven by a powerful sense of collective displacement.
In the vast Atlantic
The sun's eye blazes over the edge of ocean
And watches the islands in a great bow curving
From Florida down to the South American coast.
A. J. S. Seymour, 'For Christopher Columbus'
Derek Walcott describes the Caribbean archipelago, in 'Homage to Gregorias', as 'a broken root, | divided among tribes' (1986: 196). To Antonio Benítez-Rojo (1992), it is a 'repeating island' characterized by a fractal diversity that is never far from entropy or chaos. Grace Nichols visualizes the region as