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Continental Shelf

Fred D'Aguiar

Continental Shelf by Fred d'Aguiar
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847770 43 1
Categories: 21st Century, Black and Asian, British, Caribbean
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: May 2009
216 x 135 x 8 mm
80 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Demerara whose east coast raised me
    From a mere stalk to stand straight

    To stand tall no matter what current
    Help me find your grain your flow
    And Demerara sweeten me

    So my art keeps your river's caveat
    Your sense of cane fields bathed in sweat

    from 'Demerara Sugar' by Fred D'Aguiar
    Continental Shelf traces a journey, across continents and from youth to maturity. It moves from memories of childhood in Guyana, through a long elegiac exploration of the shootings at Virginia Tech University in 2006, to the reflective closing section which gives its title to the book. Fred D'Aguiar celebrates individuals and the histories embedded in places. He conjures up a sensuous childhood world of characters, stories, a loved particularity - a smell of bitumen, the local hero who comes last in a National Cycle Championship, a distant train's incantation of 'greenheart, mora, baromalli' - impressions so distinct and powerful that 'fumes... spin my head / Back whenever I catch a whiff from a car'. In D'Aguiar's Elegies for the thirty-three people who died in Virginia, that loss of unique and particular individuals is mourned, in a scrutiny of what civil and private life has become, and how, alongside grief, we may recover delight in the world. In his first full-length collection since Bill of Rights (1998), D'Aguiar celebrates how imagination and memory enable us to cope with violence and death. Love, above all, is the mainstay.
    Contents


    Local Colour


    Bring Back, Bring Back
    A Clean Slate
    The Return
    At Sea
    Reap
    Calypso
    Railway
    Tributary
    H2O
    Matriarch
    Something Imagined
    Tamarind Season
    Playing House
    R O Y G B I V
    Caribbean
    Bullroarer
    The Barber-Green
    Caiman
    Snake and Ladder
    After Birth
    Ledge
    Pan
    S-Joe
    Dara Singh
    Demerara Sugar
    Leaving
    Sabbatic
    The Shell Pond
    National Cycle Championship
    Subaltern
    The Never-Never
    Houses not Homes
    Guyana Dreaming Wilson Harris
    Local Colour
    Succession

    Elegies

    Continental Shelf

    Well
    Martial Art
    3am
    Jump Rope
    Moonwalk
    Star Fruit
    Continental Shelf
    Fred D'Aguiar was born in London in 1960 to Guyanese parents. He grew up in Guyana, returning to England in his teens. He trained as a psychiatric nurse before reading African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Cambridge University and has ... read more
     'D'Aguiar interrogates and reassesses whatever he sees in a poetry that is flexible and fast paced, every action, every relationship thrown into fierce relief by a sense of threat and insecurity...'
    Charles Bainbridge, The Guardian
    Praise for Fred D'Aguiar  'D'Aguiar is not generally concerned with textual translation in this collection: he applies the word in a broader sense... abbreviations seem part of the serious trans-cultural game, inviting recognition, but also making the outsider notice the limits and exclusions their own education has entailed. Whether the planet's human creatures might coexist without radically mistranslating each other is one of the vigorously posed questions.'
    'Reformation' was The Guardian's Poem of the Week, September 24th 2018

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