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Lagahoo Poems

Written by Nicholas Laughlin for Caribbean Beat on no date provided

The lagahoo of Trinidadian folklore -- cousin to the French loup-garou and the Germanic werewolf --is a fearsome shape-shifter, man by day and beast by night, not restricted to canine forms, 'a genius at maiming or killing'. The Lagahoo of James Christopher Aboud’s new book of poems is an ageless, restless wanderer who 'takes his shape from the wind' and 'has no master', except his own hunger, his own desire.

He is present at the very beginning of things, when 'Sun begat Moon' and 'Moon begat Ocean'; he is present at the arrival of blue-skinned, pink-lipped Columbus; he is present when Port of Spain burns in July 1990. He seems to see everything, but also to see through everything: the misapprehensions of history, the delusions of men and women who want to believe they own the earth, but who the earth inexorably reclaims, for 'The earth is soft and is always / sucking things down.'

Lagahoo is both man and animal, both friend and enemy -- and also neither. His ominous, imprecatory voice speaks many of these poems, and infiltrates the others. These are, in all the senses of the word, weird poems: sinister, puzzling, fierce, and often beautiful; teeth-baring and fur-bristling. They are dark, glittering fragments of myth, which the reader cannot quite assemble into a whole; just as the Lagahoo cannot quite be fitted into any conventional scheme of legend or religion. What lingers is the chilling certainty of his voice. 'From this small page Lagahoo rules the world!'

This is a review of Lagahoo Poems

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