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The Lazarus Poems
Kamau Brathwaite

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2017 • 120 pp. 8 illus. 7 x 8 1/4"
Poetry / Poetry - Caribbean & Latin American

$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7687-3

$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7688-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Brathwaite’s work here is jagged, politically engaged … Fragments of reportage, song, and dream abut slippery linguistic ruins in his trademark Sycorax video style, which features wildly varying layout and typography.”Publishers Weekly

A mystical masterwork

This new book by the great Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite is characteristically sui generis, vatic, and strange, exhibiting ornery bravura. Tonally and typographically frenetic in the ‘sycorax video style’ he’s been employing for decades, the work examines a major theme appropriate to a great poet in the late stages of his career: that of the afterlife. Brathwaite performs a kind of spiritual/aesthetic GPS in his poetry and is is a poet of undeniable stature, writing the final poems of his career. Central to the book is a series of poems outlining the speaker’s (the poet’s) experiences with what he calls “Cultural Lynching.” These poems speak of appropriation, theft, isolation, and exploitation, all within a context of an American hegemony that intensifies the racial politics and ageism underlying the events described. The speaker’s pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in every sense of the word.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“No one writes like Kamau Brathwaite. He is a poet of global importance. The book is an intimate, mystical lens to gaze across time periods and literary modes and frames. The overall effect is mesmerizing, even transcendent, from his lush, mystical descriptions of island nature to his totally unexpected arresting invitation to a beheading. This is a mystical, liberatory, heartbreaking book.”—Joyelle McSweeney, author of Dead Youth, or, The Leaks

“This book is Kamau Brathwaite’s grand, retrospective understanding of his entire poetics—which has extended and developed and ramified across well over half a century of enormous human change. It is also a culmination of his insistent, original vision. Lazarus, recalled from the dead, is reprised in the history of the collective mind of a once enslaved and now resurrected people—a mind embodied in the individual mind of this magnificent poet and called back to life by his absolute freedom to speak.”—Vijay Seshadri, Sarah Lawrence College

From the Book:

1/Lazarus pleads w/the poet for help him out of his wounds

You have asked me to come sit talk about myself w/in the image of our
‘heritage’ and yet you have refused/declined/have been unable to recogni
ze nor not been told/how i am dead. killed by the Basilisk w/out psalm or
funeral advice. abandoned on the hillside. my ashes blown & blinded in th
(e) wind. w/out memory or video << Are you afraid of something? offending

the Dark Force perhaps? the ole Colonial Colonel? Let them tek what
dem want to take – leave me alone! How can i speak/participate in ‘project
(s)’ w/out surface or soldier or solstice(?) w/out the consolation – justice <
or justification – for all that i have lost. been plundered out of plenitude &
usefulness So many bees these days on dead leaves w/out a glimmer or the

hum of honey. is this how you want it go? tit for no tat? the hammer hitting
not the brass tack but the writing fringer? Only you. my cousins of the spir
it. can lock my eyes out of the silence. bring words back to my tongue coat
ed w/the rough & fiery skin of the lizard. Only you w/hopefully yr understanding.
can bring me back from the dead wall & valley of the thorns

But you refuse to me this gift this glorious benefice of yr slow winding coral
voices. no blessing comes out of yr souls/yr mouths retaining closed even
as i remain lock.down inside this journey on the hot devil’s limestone roads
of man’s vain

KAMAU BRATHWAITE born in Barbados in 1930, is an internationally celebrated poet, performer, and cultural theorist. He has won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bussa Award, and the Casa de las Américas Prize. A retired professor of comparative literature at New York University, Brathwaite now lives in CowPastor, Barbados.

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:44:12 -0500