American Fall
Raymond Ramcharitar’s sophisticated and formally ambitious poems have Trinidad as their centre but are global in scope. This is reflected both in their subject matter and their form. The regular movement between the Caribbean, Europe and North America that several of the poems chart is seen both as a contemporary reality, and as no more than a continuation of history’s patterns: of, for instance, Indo-Trinidadians who are the ‘scions of waylaid Brahmins and pariahs’.
Raymond Ramcharitar
ISBN number
Country setting
Trinidad and Tobago
United States of America
Publication date
20 Aug 2007

This particular migration is placed in the context of a wider world of human movement and ‘new theologies springing from old longings’. In form, too, the poems refuse to be confined by any limiting sense of the contemporary and the Caribbean. Use of the archetypes of classical mythology, traditional verse patterns (such as the villanelle) and the careful, confident use of rhythm and rhyme are the most evident outward features of Ramcharitar’s concern with form. There are homages to Derek Walcott and Wallace Stevens, but the closer one’s acquaintance with the poems, the more evident that Ramcharitar’s post-modern voice is a thoroughly individual one, with a capacity for writing verse narratives that are condensed but reverberate like the best short stories, dramatic monologues that skilfully create other voices, and lyric poems that get inside the less obvious byways of emotion.

Raymond Ramcharitar was born in Trinidad. He worked as a journalist and is the author of a controversial and provocative study of the deficiencies of the Trinidadian press, Breaking the News: Media & Culture in Trinidad.


Raymond Ramcharitar

Raymond Ramcharitar is a poet, fiction writer and cultural critic from Trinidad and Tobago. The Island Quintet, his first short story collection, was shortlisted for the
Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book in 2010. He has published three collections of poetry; American Fall, Here, and most recently, Modern, Age &c.
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