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A Light Song of Light
ISBN: 978 1 847771 03 2
Categories: 21st Century, Caribbean
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2010
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
A light song of light swells up in the dark
times, in wolf time and knife time,
in knuckle and blood times; it blooms
nocturnally, like a Chinese flower,
bright against the midnight.
from 'Twelve Notes for a Light Song of Light'
Kei Miller's work was acclaimed by the distinguished Jamaican writer Olive Senior as 'Some of the most exciting poetry I’ve read in years... An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace.' A Light Song of Light sings in the rhythms of ritual and folktale, praise songs and anecdotes, blending lyricism with a cool wit, finding the languages in which poetry can sing in dark times.
The book is in two parts: Day Time and Night Time, each exploring the inseparable elements that together make a whole. Behind the daylight world of community lies another, disordered, landscape: stories of ghosts and bandits, a darkness violent and seductive. At the heart of the collection is the Singerman, a member of Jamaica's road gangs in the 1930s, whose job was to sing while the rest of the gang broke stones. He is a presence both mundane and shamanic. Kei Miller’s poems celebrate 'our incredible and abundant lives', facing the darkness and making from it a song of the light.
Cover photograph: Detail of balmyard constructed from zinc, Jamaica. Copyright © Kei Miller.
Twelve Notes for a Light Song of Light
This Zinc Roof
Some Definitions for Song
Until you too have journeyed
Some Definitions for Light (I)
If this short poem stretches
Notice to the Public, Please Observe
Some Definitions for Light (II)
The Longest Song
A Short Biography of the Singerman
What Can Be Accommodated
The Singerman’s Papa
The Colour of the Singerman’s Songs
In Defence of Obeah
Questions for Martin Carter
Call this apocalyptic propaganda if you must
For Cornelius Eady
Some Definitions for Light (III)
The Lost Prophecy of Alexander Bedward
De True Story of Rolling Calf
De True Story of Nathaniel Morgan
De True Story of Coolie Duppy
De True Story of deLaurence
A Praise Song for Sudden Lights
A Smaller Song
For the Pilots
A Short History of Beds We Have Slept in Together
The Law Concerning Mermaids
What We Thought Were Signs
On the Ninth Night
The Singerman’s Other Job
A Parting Song
A Nine Night Song
Some Definitions for Night
Praise for Kei Miller Miller's charming second collection [There Is an Anger that Moves] is an affectionately jaunty glimpse of a life caught between the cold and baffling England he has adopted and the fiery warmth of his Jamaican home.
No. 7 in 'The Ten Best New poetry collections' - the Independent, 2007
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