This month's newsletter from the editor.
The long awaited second poetry collection, Ship Shape
from Europe’s favourite 'Brit-born Bajan international' poet
Dorothea Smartt’s poems make connections between the story of Samboo,
an African slave, buried at Sunderland Point in Lancaster, and contemporary explorations of the movements of a scattered people.
“Dorothea Smartt reveals a poetic intelligence and maturity of form and content which
definitely locates her among the best of her generation of poets.” Carole Boyce Davies, Cornell University
In Dorothea Smartt’s second long awaited poetry collection, Ship Shape, she connects past and present, presence and absence in this rich new collection of poems. At its heart is a sequence of poems ‘Samboo’s Grave/Bilal’s Grave’ set in Lancaster, that excavates the missing history of Samboo, an African slave brought from the Caribbean by a Lancaster sea-captain as a present for his wife. Samboo died within days of his arrival and is presumed buried at Sunderland Point. The sequence both imagines Samboo’s mostly unrecorded experience and draws connections between present day Lancaster and the foundations of its 18th century prosperity in slave trading.
“The 99 Names of Samboo' and the bell-wrought Caribbean narratives of her second heart…
are destined for the world's anthologies.“
Kamau Brathwaite, Award winning Poet – NY University
Following this sequence, ‘Just a Part’ are contemporary poems that echo a continuity of loss wrought by the fragmentation of African Caribbean families through continuing migrations and death.
“From the slave who is robbed of his family names to the love that dare not speak its name,
this book is a penetrating quest for identity.” Patience Agbabi, - Poetry Society 'Next Generation' Poet
Dorothea on Ship Shape:
I was commissioned by Lancaster LitFest to write a contemporary elegy for Samboo’s Grave, on Sunderland Point. I felt a strong obligation to use my craft to speak for someone who could not. I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, including anger, resentment and despair. I was determined to give him a name, I've called him Bilal. I explored aspects of Bilal's voyage – from the Caribbean up, and through the North Atlantic. I hope this will offer the reader a further understanding of the life-changing impact of the trans Atlantic slave trade.
“Some of the most exciting poetry being written in England today...” Lauri Ramey, Konch
“...A master artist who sculpts both Standard and Caribbean English into a variety of poetic forms...capable of boldly crossing cultural boundaries. ”Caribbean Writer
Dorothea Smartt, born and raised in London, is a poet and live artist of Barbadian heritage. Described as ‘accessible and dynamic’, her first collection, Connecting Medium (2001) features a Forward Prize award winning poem. Her poetry also appears in several journals and ground-breaking anthologies, including Mythic Women/Real Women (Faber and Faber, 2000), IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000), and A Storm Between Fingers (Flipped Eye, 2007). She has read and performed across the globe, including, Wales, Hungary, Denmark, The Netherlands, Slovenia, Jamaica, Bahrain, Egypt, West Africa, South Africa, England and the USA. www.britbornbajan.com
Published by: Peepal Tree Press
Publication Date: 3rd November 2008
For more information, images, bookings or to request a review copy please contact Hannah Bannister at email@example.com or +44 (0)113 245 1703
Also by Dorothea Smartt:
'Connecting Medium links the past to the present, the Caribbean to England, mothers to fathers. Here are poems about identity and culture, generations and the future. A powerful sequence of poems about a black Medusa. Poems that link the material world to the spiritual one. Poems that recreate a sixties childhood in South London in vivid detail. Connecting Medium is full of energy and life. Hers is a bright, passionate voice.'