Here marks the first poetic approach to re-visioning and recreating Caribbean mythology on an epic scale, which remains dominated by Kamau Brathwaite’s Arrivants and Derek Walcott’s Another Life.
The different movements of Here vary in style and tone (from blank verse, to terza rima, to heroic couplets), but are unified by the voice of the single narrator, which changes over time. Here is prefaced by a passage from the Ramayana and the poem begins on the plains of Caroni, where the narrator traces his beginnings.
From this start, the poem moves to an overnight bus journey through Europe, a sojourn in Toronto, and an account of a broken marriage, addressed to the narrator’s daughter. The series of poems ends with ‘The Last Avatar’, a mini-epic which re-casts the Caribbean as a Hindu eschatological myth, and places its heroes as the holy trinity, of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu in Caribbean terms.
"The intelligence and formal skill of Raymond Ramcharitar embodies what Wallace Stevens meant when he said that the poetry we value most proclaims/ The near, the clear while also giving back to us the the imagination that we spurned and crave." TOM SLEIGH
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.