This poetry collection includes prose. Some pieces tell stories. Others half-express, half-explain, a certain pressure of situation. Poems in a book do not sound, or signify, as do poems extracted, or composed, to stand alone. The sequence matters, as does the whole. Prose, by the fact of its inclusion in a poetry collection, calls attention to its qualities, and to poetry’s differences, as it cannot do elsewhere.
Writers pick up on, think their way into, other voices. If this is objectionable, so is every attempt to understand others. The words on my pages derive from various areas in my mental landscape. One example: having read some Anglo-Saxon, the poetry of a people who understood the sea, I sought a way to render the rhythms and memories that, in England, recalled me to Trinidad. Without imitation, without the superimposition of one tradition on another experience, different bindings of language became available to tie and loosen what held my mind. The influences, and processes, are many and ongoing.
I realized that this shifting of modes, which initially seemed natural, was not universally obvious. This became a concern within the writing. Identity politics; the lyrical I; were inadequate to a sense of self evolving from others and their words, accessible or arcane.
This book is an autobiography, moving outwards from Trinidad; from the mind that feels free to report on the world, into the mind that knows it must question itself. Finally it becomes a way of honouring the dead, a logical journey’s-end.
‘Beware. The wisdom and originality that elegantly smolders in these pages, drives a startling and beautiful linguistic gearing; crafted silver turning on faultless glass. It purrs, chants, snarls and whispers in a profound clarity of entanglements. Haunting and unhinging the readers path with stealth. No one leaves this book alone. Beware.’ —Brian Catling
‘This is an important literary debut: the sound of a new, unique, captivating voice. The journey she describes with such ferocity and such an ebullient, unexpected sense of fun is also emotional, and she entices the reader into travelling with her. She triumphantly disproves the pessimism of her title: undiscovered countries are here spread out before us, ready for exploration.’ —Peter Conrad
‘This extraordinary poetic sequence is a kind of linked fantasia, the unflagging play of a powerful intelligence and consciousness over a series of themes: monsters of self-awareness or personal encounters, interspersed with memories and mental insights of piercing power and sympathy. It is an astonishing debut.’ —Bernard O’Donoghue