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Ground Level

In 2011 the Government of Trinidad & Tobago declared a state of emergency to counter the violent crime associated with the drugs trade. Ground Level confronts the roots of the madness and chaos seething under the surface of this “crude season of curfew from ourselves” when the state becomes a jail. For Rahim, her country is a place where “No-one hears the measure of shadow in any rhythm”, a place where “poets hurt enough to die”.


Jennifer Rahim
Trinidad and Tobago
Date published
7 Jul 2014

In this dread season, Rahim finds hope and consolation in the word and in those places where it is possible to find salvation in “this landscape of ever-opening doorways”, such as Grand Riviere, the subject of a long, twelve-part reflection on the values that can still be found in rural Trinidad. Elsewhere she engages in dialogue with those writers who confronted the Janus face of Caribbean creativity and nihilism: writers such as Earl Lovelace, Eric Roach, Victor Questel, Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite and Martin Carter, praying of the last “let his words drop on the conscience of a nation”. Alluding to the late Jamaican poet Anthony McNeill, she confides that “The Ungod of things has not changed”.
This is an ambitious collection that speaks in both a prophetic and a literary, intertextual voice, which combines the personal and the public in mutually enriching ways; it shows the assurance of a poet who has constantly worked at her craft, but who also takes formal risks to capture the reality of desperate times.

Jennifer Rahim is Trinidadian. She also writes short fiction and criticism. She is currently Senior Lecturer at The Liberal Arts Department, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad.

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Jennifer Rahim

Jennifer Rahim is Trinidadian. Her first collection of poems, Mothers Are Not the Only Linguists was published in 1992, followed by Between the Fence and the Forest, Approaching Sabbaths, which won a Casa de las Américas Prize 2010, and most recently Ground Level. She also writes short fiction, and published the acclaimed Songster and other stories in 2007, and most recently, Curfew Chronicles in 2017.

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