St Lucian poet Kendel Hippolyte’s seventh collection regards tenderly and contemplatively, as do many poems set in a writer’s later years, the steps that lead to the afterlife. A well-earned wisdom facing down death is in these verses, and yet the poems in Wordplanting are so generously activated by what keeps us incandescently, immutably alive. In “Harp”, a ruminant elder finds himself out of step and sync with the dancehall of the current generation, yet soldiers on stalwartly in paeans of song, made to bruk down Babylon’s walls. Even the most domestic of these poems lilts with music, proof that poetry about home spaces is no less powerful in a masterful griot’s hands. Taking us from foreign cities to the depths of the unlit sea, Hippolyte is calling us all into our own power, with soaring wonder



Shivanee Ramlochan
Caribbean Beat