An Introduction to West Indian Poetry by Laurence A. Breiner

By Laurence A. Breiner

This creation to West Indian poetry is written for readers making their first method of the poetry of the Caribbean written in English. It bargains a accomplished literary background from the Nineteen Twenties to the Eighties, with specific consciousness to the connection of West Indian poetry to ecu, African and American literature. shut readings of person poems provide distinct research of social and cultural matters at paintings within the writing. Laurence Breiner's exposition speaks powerfully in regards to the defining forces in Caribbean tradition from colonialism to resistance and decolonization.

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Surely because of the impact of Negritude throughout the French-speaking Caribbean, Indigenism in the end suffered critics rather than revisionists. Dantes Bellegarde voices the most common objection: Some Haitians, who want a closed and self-sufficient Haiti, have taken offence because I observed that Haiti is an intellectual province of France . . They don't want to hear about French or even Latin culture . . [Haiti] should therefore set itself the ideal of becoming in The Caribbean neighborhood 35 the middle of America a small Dahomean island, with a Bantu culture and a Congolese religion to entertain Yankee tourists .

The old view was implicitly evaluative — who can doubt that something called "High" Culture must be preferable to its "Low" alternative? But the identification of elements in society by their degree of sensibility, articulateness, or wealth, or successful mimicry of privileged models, is in this case replaced by a frank discrimination by sources, and thus the model is historicized. The two terms have already come to be used West Indian poetry and its audience rather loosely to distinguish Old World from New World elements, Europe from Africa, metropolitan culture from folk culture, the Establishment from the people, the Academy from the artist.

24 These longstanding habits have been nourished by urbanization, and by the recent drives for literacy and general public education. The local context is to this extent more hospitable for serious poets than for novelists, because poetic activity is actually more familiar to the audience at large. The whole spectrum of prose fiction, from high art to the pulp novel, has its origins in metropolitan tradition. In the West Indies even trash tends to be imported rather than locally produced; there is no real equivalent to such indigenous popular fiction as the Onitsha market literature of Nigeria.

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