Middle Passages (Kamau Brathwaite)

Barbados / 1992

"this new world mean. discovery? or a return to terrors he had sailed from. Known before?"

"this new world mean. discovery? or a return to terrors he had sailed from. Known before?"

Kamau Brathwaite was born in 1930 in Barbados. Author of over 16 books of poetry, his works explore the colonial wound and weave an interesting tapestry of Afro-centricism. In Middle Passages, Mr. Brathwaite deliberately sets the text in a futuristic typographical style borrowed from the 1992 fascination with burgeoning computers and the Internet. This nod toward futurism subverts the "classical" notions of poetry and thus reimagines the literal middle passage as a contemporary event with tangible consequences for the descendants of its millions of victims throughout the African diaspora. This work gets under the skin of the English poetic tradition- utilizing the language of the colonized to undermine their own rule. This particular quote is taken from one of the book's single poems: "Colombe." Brathwaite's speculations about the implications of the middle passage as a historical and psychological event both within the context of Christopher Columbus, and effectively stateless Black bodies ultimately reveals a tender element of woundedness throughout the text.

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