Place of birth
Place of residence
United States of America
National identity
United States of America

Anthony Kellman

Short biography
Anthony Kellman was born in Barbados in 1955, educated at Combermere School, at UWI (Cave Hill) and in the U.S. A poet, novelist, and musician, he is the originator of the Barbados poetic form, Tuk Verse, based on the rhythms of Tuk, the island's indigenous music.

At eighteen he left for Britain where he worked as a troubadour playing pop and West Indian folk music on the pub and folk club circuit. During the 1970s, he returned to Barbados where he worked as a newspaper reporter, then worked part-time to pay his way through UWI (Cave Hill) where he did a BA in English and History. Afterwards he worked in PR for the Central Bank of Barbados, experiences which he drew on in writing The Coral Rooms. As part of this job he was involved in organising art exhibitions and readings. 

At this time he published two poetry chapbooks, In Depths of Burning Lights (1982) and The Broken Sun (1984), which drew praise from Kamau Brathwaite, among others.

In 1987 he left Barbados for the USA where he studied for a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Lousiana State University. After completing in 1989, he took a professorship at Augusta State University, Georgia (now Augusta University), where he is Emeritus Professor of English and Creative Writing. He finds considerable resonances between the Caribbean and the Southern states in the USA, which feed into his poetry, where blue jays, dogwoods and wisteria rub shoulders with angel fish, sugarcane and coral reefs. Such dualities, which he has referred to as "a complex oneness", is "the reality of the Caribbean persona whose identity reflects both African and European qualities and styles in varying measures and in very individual ways."

In 1990 Peepal Tree published his third book of poetry, Watercourse (which appeared with a glowing endorsement from Edouard Glissant), the novel The Coral Rooms (1994), The Long Gap (1996), Wings of a Stranger (2000), Limestone (2008)—the first published epic poem of Barbados—and South Eastern Stages (2012). A second novel, The Houses of Alphonso, was published in 2004, and a new novel, Tracing Jaja, is to be published in 2016. All his work has a powerful involvement with landscape, both as a living entity shaping peoples’ lives and as a source of metaphor for inner processes. The limestone caves of Barbados have provided a particularly fertile source of inspiration. 

In 1992 he edited the first full-length U.S. anthology of English-speaking Caribbean poetry, Crossing Water. A recipient of a USA National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, his poetry, fiction and critical essays have appeared in journals all over the world.

An account of his own writing processes can be found in ‘The Revisionary Interior Image: A Caribbean Author Explores his Work’, in Studies in the Literary Imagination, Georgia State University, Vol XXVI, No. 2, 1993.