The poems in Curry Flavour will grab you with their exuberant recreation of the dramas of an intensely experienced inner life. Their imagery is sensuous, drawn from, among other sources, the flora and fauna of the Caribbean landscape. Their voice is erotic, humorous, subversive, prayerful, angry, revolutionary and celebratory.
Inspired by the all-embracing nature of the Hindu Gods, these poems attack biases and false polarities of all kinds, not least between stereotypes of gender, the sexual and the spiritual and the personal and the political. They express a New World, pan-Caribbean consciousness which is rooted in a womanist revisioning of her Indian ancestral heritage and a childhood and youth spent on the sugar-growing Caroni plains of Trinidad.
With the ceremonial incense of prayer, the ripe mango-syrup of erotic celebration, the pungency of wild coriander and shadon beni of the Creole folkworld, this is a feast for all the senses, blended together but keeping fresh all their individual piquancy, accompanied by the sound of tassa and steelband, simmered over a fire that burns away the jumbies of homophobia, incest, violence and racial hatred.
Geoffrey Philp writes in The Caribbean Writer: 'Itís not very often that a debut collection of poems can entertain, instruct and enlighten, yet Lelawattee Manoo-Rahmingís Curry Flavour does this with confidence and wit...
'Perhaps the most striking feature of Curry Flavour is the celebration of sexuality. Poems such as "Come Dine With Me, Come Dream With Me," and, of course, "Curry Flavour" exude an eroticism untainted by the puritanical strictures of Western thought that too often regard sex as a necessary evil. Manoo-Rahming delights in the sheer pleasure of sensuality and records an encounter with a lover, "You said it was the scent / of roasted geera in my hair / pungency of onion tearing at my eyes/ that made you cry in your coming / for your mamaís curry." (81)
'Curry Flavour is an exuberant collection that captures the dynamics of the divine and the temporal, the mystical and the mundane balanced with a subtle sense of humor and audacious wit that pervades this collection which is as engaging as it is seductive.'
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Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming was born in Trinidad in 1960. A mechanical/building services engineer and part-time college lecturer, she now lives in Nassau, Bahamas.