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Bookshelf 2019

Written by Richard Price and Sally Price for New West Indian Guide on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Kendel Hippolyte’s Wordplanting (Leeds, U.K.: Peepal Tree Press, 2019, paper £ 9.99) bring us poems about what might have been, the world that was once hoped for and dreamed of and fought for but never came to pass: “i woke one morning and the Caribbean was gone.” He seeks her, first by the sea, then in the town, then in the market, then at a crossroads, and finds only occasional glimpses of her presence “in a far hillside district … or a glint of zinc from a house changing half of its roof on a Saturday half-day, given to a koudmen, lend-hand, gayap, koumbit, fajina, jollification, maroon, gotong rojong … Harder to find now.” So, a sense of loss in a modernizing, globalizing St. Lucia, but also small pleasures in familiar domestic acts—morning coffee, making a bed with a loved one. In his seventh published collection of poems, Hippolyte’s languorous rhythms draw us in: mature, thoughtful work that rewards.

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