With his dexterity as a writer, Kendel Hippolyte speaks through and beyond tradition. He writes in sonnet, triolet, villanelle, and echo poem; in idiomatic dramatic monologues that capture the rhythms of Caribbean speech; in blues and rap poems; in free verse that draws upon the long-breath incantatory lines of Ginsberg and contracts in miniaturist forms as concise as graffiti. The rapturous linguistic energy of the poems invites us to look beyond the outward reality they contemplate to a more hopeful, if occluded, vision. It is the title poem of Kendel Hippolyte’s collection in which he lays down his ambitious challenge to himself and his reader: because we see with history, it is difficult to see through it; and yet we must or we become itbecome nothing else but history. In rising to meet it, Hippolyte draws upon all his verbal mastery and critical insight to draw sharp focus upon a nation in flux, where urbanization expands and fragments his home of St. Lucia. The poet turns his vision upon the people, the land and the culture, and finds a microcosm of the Caribbean in the 21st century, reminding us of the possibilities for renewal in the personal and everyday.
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