About to hit the shelves, The Undiscovered Country: Essays by Andre Bagoo (Peepal Tree Press, August 2020) is a provocative, new collection of essays by the Trinidadian writer, well-known for his previous poetry collections—Trick Vessels, BURN, Pitch Lake, and The City of Dreadful Night—among other works.
Here is more information from Peepal Tree Press:
“A manifesto, a literary criticism, a personal chronicle of literary life, a book of days, a stage wherein famous writers such as Walcott, Thomas, Gunn, Espada, and others become actors, The Undiscovered Country discovers many things, but one thing for sure: Andre Bagoo is a fearless, brilliant mind. He can take us from the formal critical perspective to new futurist “visual essay”, to verse essay, to sweeping historical account that is unafraid to go as far in time as Columbus and as urgently-of-our moment as Brexit—all of it with precision and attentiveness to detail that is as brilliant as it is startling. Bravo.”— Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa
Andre Bagoo is the real deal as an essayist in that he asks interesting questions (was there an alternative to the independence that Trinidad sought and gained in 1962?) and is open to seeing where his ideas take him – quite often to unexpected places. He displays an intense interest in the world around him – including literature, art, film, food, politics, even Snakes and Ladders – but is just as keen to share with the reader some sense of how his point of view has been constructed. He writes as a gay man who grew up in a country that still has colonial laws against gay sexuality, as a man whose ethnic heritage was both African and Indian in a country whose politics have been stymied by its ethnic divisions. And just what were the effects of repeat-watching a defective video of The Sound of Music, truncated at a crucial moment? There is an engaging personality present here, a sharp and enquiring mind, and ample evidence that he knows how to write shapely sentences and construct well-formed essays. Encyclopaedic knowledge is rarely the point of the essay, but few readers will leave this collection without feeling better informed and more curious about their worlds.
For more information, see https://www.peepaltreepress.com/books/undiscovered-country
For more on the artist/writer, see andrebagoo.com