Torres-Saillant examines recurring thematic motifs and formal devices that Caribbean literary artists have drawn from since the early 20th century, isolating their engagement with language, religion, and history as primary components of their cultural discourse. Arguing that West Indian literary texts contain clues to their own explication, the study substantiates the aesthetic autonomy of the region’s literary tradition by means of individualized readings of the works of three of its principal figures from three different linguistic blocs: Pedro Mir from the Dominican Republic, Kamau Brathwaite from Barbados, and René Depestre from Haiti. The book places Caribbean literature in the larger context of comparative poetics by discussing the historical, political, and cultural forces that mediate its interaction with other literary systems. First published in 1997 and extensively revised for this edition, Caribbean Poetics is a seminal work in pan-Caribbean criticism.
Silvio Torres-Saillant (PhD, New York University) is Professor of English and Chair of the Humanities Council at Syracuse University.