art in all its forms

art in all its forms


BEDSIDE BOOKS: From 'Running the Dusk' by Christian Campbell

A quick round-up of books am dipping into at the moment discloses: Plan B by Paul Muldoon (photometry with photographs by Norman McBeath), Selected Poems by Sylvia Plath, Running the Dusk by Christian Campbell (which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best first book of 2010); The Four Questions of Melancholy by Tomaž Šalamun (because five questions would have been intolorable); Veil by Bob Woodward (the story of the CIA's secret wars of the 1980s); Art in the Caribbean by Anne Walmsley and Sybil by Benjamin Disreali. 

Here is a poem from Campbell's Running the Dusk which can be found at the publisher's website:

for A.T.

My friend from Guyana
was asked in Philadelphia
if she was from “Iguana.”

Iguana, which crawls and then
stills, which flicks its tongue at the sun.

In History we learned that Lucayans
ate iguana, that Caribs
(my grandmother’s people)
ate Lucayans (the people of Guanahani).
Guiana (the colonial way,
with an i, southernmost
of the Caribbean) is iguana; Inagua
(southernmost of The Bahamas,
northernmost of the Caribbean)
is iguana— Inagua, crossroads with Haiti,
Inagua of the salt and flamingos.
The Spanish called it Heneagua,
“water is to be found there,”
water, water everywhere.

Guyana (in the language of Arawaks,
Wai Ana, “Land of Many Waters”)
is iguana, veins running through land,
grooves between green scales.
My grandmother from Moruga
(southern-most in Trinidad)
knew the names of things.
She rubbed iguana with bird pepper,
she cooked its sweet meat.

The earth is on the back
of an ageless iguana.

We are all from the Land of Iguana,
Hewanorra, Carib name for St. Lucia.

And all the iguanas scurry away from me.
And all the iguanas are dying.

READ MORE in this interview with Campbell at the Caribbean Review of Books hereAnd just to throw something else in I must share this poem by Plath which is one of my favorites:


I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see, I swallow immediately.
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful –
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me.
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. 

No comments:

Post a Comment