In the continuing rite of return to his native Barbados from longer and longer away, something has happened for Tony Kellman. No longer are these the alienated poems of the long gap, of belonging nowhere. With greater establishment in America has come, on the wings of a stranger, the capacity to embrace this past and to see wholly afresh what was once familiar and unremarked. Parallel to these poems of place, are those that explore new love and its power to heal and renew vision.
As well as Barbados, there are poems set in worlds as different as sharecropping Georgia and Yorkshire, England. In all of them one hears Kellman’s signal voice which combines his urbane capacity to ‘hum forever simple pleasure’ and the ecstatic vision of a poet who ‘puts on the garment of praise’ to ‘retell our special story’.
Part of the freshness of retelling is rooted in Kellman’s explorations of the rhythms of Barbadian popular music, particularly the Tuk band, his confident use of the ancestral to make the new.
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Anthony Kellman was born in Barbados. He currently teaches at Augusta