Postcolonial Poetry in English

By Rajeev S. Patke | Go to book overview

4
The Caribbean

Overview

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.


4.1 Colonization and hybridity

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

-80-

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Postcolonial Poetry in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures i
  • Oxford Studies in Postcolonial Literatures ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • Part I - Introduction 1
  • 1: Poetry and Postcoloniality 3
  • 2: Back to the Future 29
  • Part II - The Development of Local Traditions 53
  • 3: South Asia and Southeast Asia 55
  • 4: The Caribbean 80
  • 5: Black Africa 105
  • 6: The Settler Countries 130
  • Part III - Case Studies: Voice and Technique 157
  • 7: Minoritarian Sensibilities 159
  • 8: Techniquesofself-Representation 180
  • 9: Recurrent Motifs: Voyage and Translation 207
  • 10: After the 'Post-' 237
  • References 240
  • Index 259
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