Poets and Poetry || FOREWORD

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  • FOREWORDAuthor(s): REX NETTLEFORDSource: Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 1, Poets and Poetry (MARCH, 1984), p. iiiPublished by: University of the West Indies and Caribbean QuarterlyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40653516 .Accessed: 15/06/2014 05:47

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    FOREWORD

    Writing on poetry by Anthony McNeill, Fernanda Steele identifies as basic to Credences at the Altar of Cloud "the belief that poetry is an all pervading sustaining force which bears direct relation to human life". Whether the relation may properly be deemed "direct" is a question implicit throughout this issue on Caribbean Poetry. What is unques- tionable in Steele's opinion is that the poems do not elaborate or conceptualize on abstract ideas (my emphasis). They, rather, present themselves with concrete images and structures from which the reader can then abstract ideas and elaborate on them. Steele very helpfully divides the poems into four sections: the first allows one to gain "a deep insight into the meaning and function of poetry which the poems stress"; the second "plunges into a world of nightmare, as the poems portray a gigantic struggle to transcend the negative forces of man's daily living and to reach a vision of beauty"; in the third, "the poems take a sudden turn into territory where the pain through which they had travelled is either totally abandoned or distanced"; and the fourth "contains two letter-poems". Caribbean Quarterly has not been quite as successful as it would wish in reproducing the poems with the embroidered lines. The reader is referred to the original text for the sake of accuracy.

    The importance of poetry as a sustaining force, especially that of language, per- meates all the articles, since (as Ian Smith reminds us in The Poetics of Self: Dennis Scott's Dangerous Style) "poetry is the ordering and shaping of experience through a lin- guistic medium" , demonstrating the "plurality of perspectives and a flexibility of style that attempt to articulate the web of life . . ." which for Scott, in these poems, are "the creative imagination, the vicissitudes of love and socio-political concerns", all of which are crafted with the creative tension of "inherited European/Western forms and purely local indigenous ones, and the peculiar experience that is to be transmitted".

    In Helen and the Tempest-Negre. Rene Depestre's a Rainbow for the Christian West, in the words of Edward Kamau Brathwaite, "language as all (ex)-colonials know, is Caliban's big problem/monster . . . The political or whatever other revolt has to buck up sooner or later (and sooner better than letter) on the forts and greathouses of language." Apart from dealing with the poetics/poetry of Depestre's work, Brathwaite enjoins his reader "to confront and confess to frontally, . . and go beyond [this] problem of cultural rain-shadow, double consciousness, false value systems, spiritual dichotomy mulatto complex . . ."

    In addition to the critical articles, the book reviews and the poems, we are pleased also to publish interviews with two of the poets whose work is otherwise examined in this issue. In spite of her warnings about the danger of overvaluing interviews, Fernanda Steele elicits information from Anthony McNeill and Dennis Scott talks helpfully to Mervyn Morris.

    REX NETTLEFORD

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    Article Contentsp. iii

    Issue Table of ContentsCaribbean Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 1, Poets and Poetry (MARCH, 1984), pp. i-iii, 1-80Front MatterFOREWORD [pp. iii-iii]THE JOURNEY TO THE LIGHT OF ANTHONY McNEILL'S CREDENCES AT THE ALTAR OF CLOUD [pp. 1-22]THE POETICS OF SELF: DENNIS SCOTT'S DANGEROUS STYLE [pp. 23-32]HELEN &THE TEMPEST-NEGRE: RENE DEPESTRE'S A RAINBOW FOR THE CHRISTIAN WEST [pp. 33-47]INTERVIEW: DENNIS SCOTT TALKING TO MERVYN MORRIS [pp. 48-50]ANTHONY McNEILL ON "CREDENCES AT THE ALTAR OF CLOUD" An Interview [pp. 51-59]POEMSPARABLE III [pp. 60-60]FOR THE GREAT HOUSE AT AGUALTA VALE [pp. 60-61]

    BOOK REVIEWSReview: untitled [pp. 62-67]Review: untitled [pp. 68-69]Review: untitled [pp. 70-74]Review: untitled [pp. 75-77]

    BOOKS RECEIVED [pp. 79-79]Back Matter