Discussing Columbus
A collection of poems, including a long dramatic poem, that explores the confluence of many arrivals in the Caribbean.
Cyril Dabydeen
ISBN number
Country setting
Publication date
01 Feb 1997

When Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492, he believed that he had landed on the coast of India. Cyril Dabydeen's ancestors came from India to the Caribbean in the nineteenth century as indentured labourers. This is an irony which appeals to him, an 'illustration of an odd and idiosyncratic destiny at work'. Since then, like many of his fellow Guyanese, Cyril Dabydeen has moved on again to settle in Canada. This collection of poems grows out of a consciousness of a world made up of layers of journeyings and settlement, of the meeting of heterogeneous cultures and the results of their mingling. On 'a deserted but peopled land', Dabydeen explores experiences of Canada and the Caribbean which simultaneously speak of a past of brutal genocide and tyranny and a world of recreating newness, constantly awaiting rediscovery, constantly evolving from the convergencies which that voyage of 1492 began.

'Cyril Dabydeen is one of the most confident and accomplished voices in the Caribbean diaspora this side of the late 20th century.' - Kamau Brathwaite.

Cyril Dabydeen was born in Guyana in 1945. He migrated to Canada in 1970. He is the author of almost a dozen collections of poetry, two novels and six collections of short stories.


Cyril Dabydeen

Cyril Dabydeen teaches Creative Writing at the University of Ottawa, and is a former Poet Laureate of Ottawa (1984-87). His work has appeared in over 60 literary magazines and anthologies world-wide. He has done more than 300 readings internationally and has twice adjudicated for the Governor General's Award (Poetry) and the USA Neustadt International Prize for Literature (UOklahoma) in 2000.
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