Toppa Top 10: The Best Caribbean Books of 2011

Intro 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Honorebel Mention Honorebel Mention
December 6, 2011

1. Kamau Braithwaite, Elegguas (poetry)

A late 2010 release, this collection of verse from Bajan poet Kamau Braithwaiteย nevertheless demands recognition as one of the most important works of Caribbean literature in recent memory; the sycorax style he develops within it the closest thing to a purely (impurely?) West Indian literary form the world has yet seen. It can be glimpsed in the lovely lines of a poem like “Defilee”:

The meat they make of you I cannot sell
tho i sell sutler meat at Ogoum all my life
the fragments of yr bodyโ€™s dream I can but touch
O cruel piece by piece I can but gather

from the entrail entrance of the knife

But it can only be fully appreciated in book-form, it’s very typefaces “a rebellion against ‘Prosperoโ€™s’ poetry, staid lines advancing in orderly fashion from left to right, and stanzas marching in ranks down the page.”