Kamau Brathwaite (Online) Poetry Festival


We are sad to report that, as Trinidadian-Bahamian poet Christian Campbell informs us, the inaugural Kamau Brathwaite Poetry Festival, originally scheduled for May 2019 in Barbados, to celebrate the author’s “world-changing, world-making art and thought as well as his 89th birthday (May 11)” has been cancelled due to financial constraints.

However, as an excellent alternative for now, Campbell proposes: “But why don’t we bring the festival to cyberspace? For the month of July and beyond, let’s post Kamau Brathwaite poems, excerpts, quotes from essays, books, et al to celebrate one of the truly great poets and thinkers of our time. What might happen to the world if we flood the internet with KB’s words? The genius of his work is driven by a colossal love—let’s give some back to him. Please use the hashtag #kamaubrathwaitefestival and forward to all social media magicians.”

We love this idea and hope you share it far and wide!

For more inspiration, see:

2 thoughts on “Kamau Brathwaite (Online) Poetry Festival

  1. Giving thanks for Kamau’s work and legacy – and for Christian’s initiative!

    Guanahani, 11 (Kamau Brathwaite – 2005)

    like the beginnings – o odales o adagios – of islands
    from under the clouds where I write the first poem

    its brown warmth now that we recognize them
    even from this thunder’s distance

    still w/out sound. so much hope
    now around the heart of lightning that I begin to weep


    1. Thank you! Here is my contribution to this great project (just posted on FB):


      Excerpt from “Letter SycoraX,” MIDDLE PASSAGES (1993)

      [. . .] Why a callin it X? a doan write. ly know

      but yes. taday when a was tell.

      in a certain girl frenn about

      it/she kinda look at i funn. y like if

      she tink i has Xer Xes or aids

      so she softly soffly silk. in i off like if i is sick.

      ly or sorrow or souse

      but is like what i try. in to sen/seh &

      seh about muse. in computer &

      mouse & learn.

      in prospero ling. uage &


      not fe dem/not fe dem de way caliban


      but fe we fe a-we

      for nat one a we shd response if prospero get curse wid im own


      though um not like when covetous ride miss praedial mule

      but is like we still start where we start/in out start/in out start/in

      out since menelek was a bwoy & why is dat &

      what is de bess way to seh so/so it doan sounn like brigg flatts or her. vokitz. nor de

      [Pi]. san cantos nor de souf sea bible

      nor like ink. le & yarico & de anglo sa Xon chronicles



      a fine a cyaan get nutten

      write a cyaan get nutten really

      rite while a stannin up hey in me years & like i inside a me shadow

      like de mahn still mekkin mwe walk up de slope dat e slide in black down de whole long curve a de arch i

      pell a go [. . .]


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