A Leaf in His Ear: Selected Poems
When Mahadai Das died at the tragically early age of 49, there was an outpouring of grief across the Caribbean that a poet, who never quite had the chance to build a literary career to match her talents, had been lost.
Mahadai Das
ISBN number
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Publication date
25 Jan 2010

She had been known for some time as a highly promising Guyanese poet, but when Peepal Tree published her Bones in 1988, there was widespread critical recognition that here was an outstandingly original new voice. Then severe illness struck and though there followed occasional poems that developed the achievement of Bones, there was no new collection. 

This collected poems, discussed with Mahadai Das before her death, and organised in co-operation with the poet’s sister, brings together almost all the poems she wrote. It includes I Want to Be a Poetess of My People (1976), My Finer Steel Will Grow (1982), and Bones (1988). In addition, A Leaf in His Ear brings together many of the fine poems published in journals and previously uncollected, and some unpublished work, from lively, humorous nation-language poems to experiments with ballad forms and the oblique, gnomic poems written in the years after Bones.


Mahadai Das

Mahadai Das was born in Eccles, East Bank Demerara, Guyana in 1954. She wrote poetry from her early school days at Bishops High School, Georgetown. She did her first degree at the University of Guyana and received her MA at Columbia University, New York, and then began a doctoral program in Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Das became ill and never completed the programme. She was a dancer, actress, teacher, and beauty-queen, served as a volunteer member of the Guyana National Service in c1976 and was part of the Messenger Group promoting ‘Coolie’ art forms at a time when Indo-Guyanese culture was virtually excluded from national life.
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