Wayne Brown’s On the Coast was first published in 1972. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation in the UK and established Brown as one of the finest young poets of the post-Walcott generation. It was followed in 1988 by Voyages, a collection that amply showed the maturing of Brown’s remarkable gifts but was rarely available. Now, long after some of the ‘revolutionary’ poets are forgotten, it is possible to see that Brown’s work has been seminal in Caribbean poetry, both for its intrinsic qualities, and for Brown’s crucial role as the mentor of a current generation of Caribbean poets. This edition restores the original text of the 1972 edition and adds the new poems first published in the later collection.
Wayne Brown's poems approach the issues of creativity, finding meaning, finding contentment and the threats to these human goals through poems about Caribbean nature (his bestiary of sea creatures makes him a Caribbean Ted Hughes); through anecdote, frequently drawing on family life; through poems about favourite artists such as Neruda, Nabakov, Rilke and the Tobagan poet Eric Roach; through reflecting on the rewards and pain of remaining in the Caribbean compared to the loss suffered by those writers and artists who left the islands.