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Words Need Love Too represents both a summation – a drawing together of concerns that the poet has explored in his writings through the previous ‘years of salt’ – and a turning point, a hopeful new beginning. With hindsight we can already see the shadow of events like “nine eleven” – which happened when Brathwaite was in New York, living only blocks away from the World Trade Centre – that inevitably drives the poet and his writing back into explorations of the dread spectrum.
But for the optimistic epithalamium moment of ‘Words Need Love Too’ the visionary celebration of poems like ‘Agoue’ again seems both possible and important to this poet whose early work had been as much about celebrating connection and the possibilities inherent in the Caribbean’s rediscovery of its African heritage as it had been concerned to chronicle the barbarities and hurts of the process of cultural alienation that made such a rediscovery necessary. In terms of the prevailing tone of Brathwaite’s later writing that optimistic moment may be short lived but Words Need Love Too serves as an important reminder of the emotional and spiritual range of this great Caribbean poet’s work.
‘Taking place in Bathwaite’s post-“Time of Salt” flowering (between 1986 and 1990, his wife died, a hurrican destroyed his house in Kingston, and he was left for dead by burglars in his apartment). Brathwaite has been consistently aggressive in his poetics, and this book represents an iteration of his “Namestoura/Sycorax Video/tidalectics” style, which aspires to perform a cultural rehabilitation of the European and West African seeds in the Caribbean.’ —D.H. Tracy
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