The Poetry of Kei Miller

Written by John Robert Lee for PN Review on Monday, July 6th, 2020

In navigating ‘away from’ and through our contemporary world, he is redrawing our literary maps. Key contemporaries include Marlon James, Claudia Rankine, Vahni Capildeo, Dionne Brand, Ilya Kaminsky, Danez Smith. While their post-colonial, post-independence, world-literature themes are familiar now – immigration, displacement, prejudice, racist and gender-based violence – it is in their exploration of ‘trans-genre’ forms that they challenge and lead the way in redefining and refreshing poetry and prose. Kei Miller belongs among these writers for whom the world is the audience even as they navigate various dark places and send their cartographic discoveries back to us.

Miller’s Writing down the vision: essays and prophecies (Peepal Tree, 2013) provides glimpses of his approach to writing in his responses to protest poetry, language, religion, political literature, his platform in the literary world. ‘The centre for me is no longer Britain… The centre for me is now the Caribbean.’