One to another

Written by Karen McCarthy Woolf for The Poetry Society on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

This is an exchange rich in contrasts and parallels: “the snow falling on your day counterpoints the ash / of burnt offerings that has coated the denials of here” writes Kinsella, from “the dead of summer” (‘9’), a pronouncement that propels Dawes away from the biting Midwestern winter back to the Caribbean via the Kingston of his native Jamaica and Kamau Brathwaite’s “shady backyard in Barbados” (‘10’). When Dawes writes of “the petty politics / of race in civil universities” and a “small Indian woman”, who is “deported by this monstrous machine”, Kinsella responds with the “stress in renewing a visa so one can regain entry into / the country where my son was born”. Throughout the cycle’s correspondence, and as one would expect of two politically attentive poets, the daily antagonisms of aggressive global neoliberal capitalism, bigotry and the colonial inheritance are documented, ruminated and shared, via historical and contemporary literatures, music, history and personal accounts.