Today, one of the world’s greatest living writers turns 85. As critic, essayist, editor, orator and poet, Kamau Brathwaite’s influence on Caribbean literature is unprecedented and enduring. International recognition of his work includes the Neustadt Prize (1994), the Griffin Poetry Prize (2006), the Casa de las Americas Premio (2011) and — earlier this year — the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal.
Christian Campbell has described Kamau Brathwaite’s work as “a necessary oeuvre” with “percussive intelligence” in every poem. Vladimir Lucien affirms that “There is no other figure, in the history of Caribbean poetry, as massive as Kamau Brathwaite.” In the words of the Griffin Poetry Prize citation, “To read Kamau Brathwaite is to enter into an entire world of human histories and natural histories, beautiful landscapes and their destruction, children’s street songs, high lyricism, court documents, personal letters, literary criticism, sacred rites, eroticism and violence, the dead and the undead, confession and reportage.” His work is essential reading: he is a towering figure not only in Caribbean literature, but to anyone with an interest in poetry, anywhere.
The Missing Slate is honoured to be presenting — in celebration of Kamau’s 85th birthday —a selection of poems, essays, paintings and sculpture, curated by John Robert Lee (himself a poet of enormous talent and a key influence on a new generation of Caribbean writers).
Kamau: A tribute from St. Lucia
Introduction by John Robert Lee
Essay by Vladimir Lucien
For Kamau Brathwaite at 85
Poetry by John Robert Lee
Poetry by Kendel Hippolyte
A Poem for Kamau
Poetry by McDonald Dixon
Excuse for form
Poetry by Jane King
Poetry by Vladimir Lucien
Poetry by Irvin Desir