As the poet’s journey takes him away from home and into the world of books and learning, there comes a new vision of what “home” might offer – a vision that can be represented through memory and the literary imagination.
In this vivid and affecting first book, Ishion Hutchinson gives us a world in which “everything was about spirits,” where a drowned husband sitting in a “spotted tree… ‘telling me when the mangoes going to fall’” is less strange than a father arriving from a distant country on an airplane. Here, “the moon ownself” is just another local character, like the woodcutter for whom “Is evil how coal burn from black/ to red and the pot of water/ hissing like the wife.” Each description, each character becomes indelible, from the librarian with “hardboiled eyes” who will eventually set fire to the modest library “smacked between the barracks and the rum bars.” to “the ruddy-bellied woman” who “bathes/ at the public stand-pipe” until “clean and black, she shines/ like a new tyre tube.” Jacqueline Osherow
Far District is a marvellous book of generous, giving poems. Not only does this collection travel through an abiding language and far-reaching imagery, but it also transports the reader to a complex psychological terrain through a basic honesty and truthfulness. The leap-frogging of borders is executed with an ease that never fails to engage the reader’s mind and body. There’s a playfulness here that’s contagious and, at times, even outrageous in its breathless insinuation through a biting clarity and directness that would have challenged The Great Sparrow. Hutchinson is a young poet who seems to journey wherever his poems take him, and the reader is blessed to accompany him. Yusef Komunyakaa
Ishion Hutchinson received his MFA in Poetry from New York University. His work has appeared in the LA Review, Callaloo, Caribbean Review of Books, Poetry International and the chapbook, Bryan’s Bay.