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'the most exciting anthology of poetry I have ever read'

Written by Laia Sales Merino for Ambit Magazine on Saturday, October 17, 2020

Considering the machismo that breathed through many of the previous anthologies that I could access of Caribbean poetry both in Spanish and in English, this anthology feels like a groundbreaking, por-fin change. In the introduction it is mentioned how women played a vital role in the intensely creative street protests and community-based relief efforts after Huracán María; that creativity and coming together, that fuerza y maña, is beating throughout this project, where women are playing a vital role in shaping the future of Caribbean poetry and making it inhabitable by all Caribbean peoples.


The Sea Needs No Ornament / El Mar No Necesita Ornamento is a gigantic, groundbreaking project and the most exciting anthology of poetry I have ever read. It is maybe like a sea wave hitting your carita. After all the initial water, of that sea ‘ten times bluer than the bluest eye’ (Safiya Sinclair), is coughed out the body, te pican los ojos, tus labios saben a sal and you might smell it, maybe addicted or maybe afraid, for weeks. It might flood your dreams. It is poetic excellence. It is not santised, chewed, sin-espinas poetry. It is skilfull, unaccomodating, incredible poesía. It is a springboard for many more transnational Caribbean anthologies, collaborations and multidisciplinary projects to come, that I hope include and promote more Caribbean languages, including creoles and dialects, more Black Spanish-speaking writers, Spanish-speaking writers from the Diaspora, and publishing houses based in the Caribbean.

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This is a review of The Sea Needs No Ornament / El mar no necesita ornamento

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- Home of the Best in Caribbean & Black British Writing -