Praise and Poems
Fawzia Kane is a spinner of tales and tall stories, sometimes in the mischievous and charming voice of Tantie Diablesse (the ageless spirit of an ex-slave who is part-healer, part-witch), on other occasions in the voices of the odd and bright characters who populate this book: Borges’s Imaginary Beings, The Mighty Sparrow (a calypso singer from the 50s), ‘La Cuentista Bonita,’ ‘The Douen’ (the lost souls of children who died before being baptized) and the poet herself, as a child growing up in Trinidad. In these rich and varied poems Kane resurrects ‘buried songs’ and their ‘dreams of disquiet’.
Dr Tamar Yoseloff
In ‘Angelus Novus’ Fawzia Kane considers Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History and writes: ‘Watch how she struggles/to make whole this growing mound/of debris.’. It’s a suitable epigraph for Kane herself, whose richly layered images — as unsettling and illuminating as they are beautiful and musically phrased — make their homes in poems whose architecture ranges from domestic to labrynthine, and whose language sings on the page with an unusual power and subtlety.
An angel settles on the prow
of my pirogue. She dips her head,
then shrugs her shoulders to lift wings
that stay just so, as angels do.
The skin below her mouth is soft,
and folded over feathers filmed
with sand and silt, sievings from the flow
beneath us, where the Orinoco
mixes with the sea.
I wait, then watch
her break the water’s calm, for under
the surface she blossoms, her wings
unfurl to beat an ancient rhythm,
that sacred splendour, as she gathers
her flash of silver from the shoal.