Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair's Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure.Read more...
Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair's Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal. Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke, creating a multitextured collage of beautiful and explosive poems.
- ISBN-13: 9780803290631
- ISBN-10: 0803290632
- Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
- Publish Date: September 2016
- Page Count: 126
- Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.43 pounds
Series: Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Sinclair, a 2016 Whiting Writers’ Award–winner, crafts her stunning debut collection around the beauty and brutality of the word cannibal, whose origins derive from Christopher Columbus’s belief that the Carib people he encountered consumed human flesh. Attacking this dehumanizing judgment born from white entitlement and denouncing the idea that blackness is synonymous with savagery, Sinclair ponders such questions as, How does a poet get inside the head of Shakespeare’s Caliban? How would Caliban define blackness without the filter of a white man’s bias? In the poem “Mermaid,” Sinclair shows how history is more than a time line; it’s the ghosts that haunt a family and the memories that live in their veins. She notes how the English attempted to stamp out Jamaican culture as if it were a weed, yet it grew “back thick, tenfold, and blackened with the furor of a violated man.” Sinclair’s vibrant imagery and arresting diction injects inanimate objects with soul; sunsets, islands, beaches, and wind are stirred to life. More than a connection to nature, water becomes a safe haven: “my grandmother’s wet skirt cast a web across// the sea.” This is a tight, focused collection, and through her visceral language Sinclair paints the institution of white supremacy as not just an individualized phenomenon, but as a ruthless and menacing force. (Sept.)