An Introduction to West Indian Poetry by Laurence A. Breiner

By Laurence A. Breiner

This advent to West Indian poetry is written for readers making their first method of the poetry of the Caribbean written in English. It deals a entire literary historical past from the Nineteen Twenties to the Eighties, with specific recognition to the connection of West Indian poetry to eu, African and American literature. shut readings of person poems supply designated research of social and cultural concerns at paintings within the writing. Laurence Breiner's exposition speaks powerfully in regards to the defining forces in Caribbean tradition from colonialism to resistance and decolonization.

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West Indian poetry certainly opened up in an unprecedented way to elements of popular culture - rural and urban, African, European, and East Indian, atavistic and Creole. The change went far beyond mere subject-matter. There was widespread adaptation of traditional oral forms and also of specifically musical forms from reggae, calypso, traditional folk music, and even the music of the churches. Moreover, the extraordinarily limber language West Indians actually use transformed or displaced the traditional poetic diction that had dominated earlier West Indian poetry.

But the identification of elements in society by their degree of sensibility, articulateness, or wealth, or successful mimicry of privileged models, is in this case replaced by a frank discrimination by sources, and thus the model is historicized. The two terms have already come to be used West Indian poetry and its audience rather loosely to distinguish Old World from New World elements, Europe from Africa, metropolitan culture from folk culture, the Establishment from the people, the Academy from the artist.

In a sense then Brouard's manifesto for the "Griots" is the last word of purely national self-discovery. Surely because of the impact of Negritude throughout the French-speaking Caribbean, Indigenism in the end suffered critics rather than revisionists. Dantes Bellegarde voices the most common objection: Some Haitians, who want a closed and self-sufficient Haiti, have taken offence because I observed that Haiti is an intellectual province of France . . They don't want to hear about French or even Latin culture .

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