The poems in this collection ask how meaning and creative sustenance can be found in the tensions between a broken Indian heritage, the harsh history of labour on the sugar estates and the native tradition of an Indo-Guyanese 'bung coolie' culture.
Rooplall Monar
ISBN number
Country setting
Publication date
01 Jun 1987

They attempt to find a way forward from a state of limbo - which is both a state of placelessness between ancestral Indian memories (which can no longer sustain) and repulsion from the harsh history of oppression in the canefields of Guyana, and also a place of liminal possibility rooted in the hesitant native tradition. What is seen as reactionary in the Indian heritage is subjected to iconoclastic questioning, what is democratically alive is celebrated. Written during the Burnham years of economic collapse and political and racial oppression, there are poems of sharp anger against all that has made life spirit-sapping and hazardous, but an anger which is inverted love, because Monar's poetry is Guyanese to the bone.

This collection was given a special award in the 1987 Guyana Literary Prize awards.


Rooplall Monar

Rooplall Monar was born in a mud floor logie on the Lusignan sugar estate, East Coast Demerara, in 1945. His parents were both caneworkers, and his mother continued to work on her own ground provision plot daily, long after she retired. The family moved to Annandale Village in 1953 to a houselot with its own plot. This, much extended over the years, remains Monar's home. He attended Lusignan Government school, Buxton Congregational School, Hindu College and Annandale Evening College. He has worked as a teacher, accounts clerk, freelance journalist, broadcaster and practitioner of folk healing (herbal cures).
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