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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 bargains a complete literary heritage from the Nineteen Twenties to the Nineteen Eighties, with specific consciousness 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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The upshot is the cultivation of an aesthetic of performance, which (among other things) has the virtue of circumventing the obstacles to publication. Though grounded on the orality of non-literate cultures, the attraction was not merely ideological; it was not merely an alignment with newly valorized 'African" traditions, or their successors among the rural folk. The wider audience for poetry in the West Indies prefers to hear, not read. There are risks associated with this preference. This might invite a mystique of solidarity with the voice of the writer, rather than critical attention to him - the communication of attitude, rather than thought.

Resident poets toy with the idea of a general audience, not only because they find it attractive as an ideal, but because it seems attainable for poetry even on empirical grounds, considering the extent to which the practice of poetry, or at least its rudiments, is woven into the fabric of West Indian life. In the West Indies the composition of verse is remarkably widespread. Throughout the islands people from every level of society write and publish verse, not only in newspapers and in ephemeral little magazines like Now and Scope, but in small books, privately printed and distributed through local bookshops or by the authors themselves, who may be housewives, students, incarcerates.

By the bizarre geometry of colonialism, London was the center of the West Indies; there is no physical center to the region but empty sea, and local nationalisms have strained against establishing a center of any higher order. Hence the failure on the political and economic planes of Federation. " For him, a sense of shared enterprise was what could give West Indian poetry strength, and as an example of what could be possible he cited 7 8 An Introduction to West Indian Poetry the work of George Campbell, Roger Mais, and other Jamaican writers associated with the literary journal Focus and the Peoples National Party (PNP) of Norman Manley in the 1940s.

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