Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
Carcanet has always been the place to look for considerations of purely literary and intellectual merit. Its list relies on the vision and the faith and the energy of people who care about books, and values. It is thus as rare as it is invaluable.
Frederic Raphael

The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion

Kei Miller

Cover of The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion by Kei Miller
RRP: GBP 9.95
eBook (EPUB)
ISBN: 978 1 847774 32 3
Categories: 21st Century, Caribbean
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: May 2014
71 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback
Digital access available through Exact Editions
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  •                                                                   A question
    has wedged itself between his learning and his awakening:
    how does one map a place that is not quite a place? How does one draw
    towards the heart?

     Shortlisted for the 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection

    In his new collection, acclaimed Jamaican poet Kei Miller dramatises what happens when one system of knowledge, one method of understanding place and territory, comes up against another. We watch as the cartographer, used to the scientific methods of assuming control over a place by mapping it (‘I never get involved / with the muddy affairs of land’), is gradually compelled to recognise – even to envy – a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman’s eternal city of Zion. As the book unfolds the cartographer learns that, on this island of roads that ‘constrict like throats’, every place-name comes freighted with history, and not every place that can be named can be found.

    The Shrug of Jah
    Establishing the Metre
    Quashie’s Verse
    What the Mapmaker Ought to Know
    The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
      i. in which the cartographer explains himself
      ii. in which the rastaman disagrees
      v. in which the rastaman offers an invitation
    A Prayer for the Unflummoxed Beaver
      ix. in which the cartographer travels lengths and breadths
    Place Name: Me-No-Sen-You-No-Come
      x. in which the cartographer asks for directions
    A Ghazal for the Tethered Goats
      xii. in which the rastaman begins to feel uncomfortable
    Place Name: Swamp
    For the Croaking Lizards
    Place Name: Wait-A-Bit
      xvi. in which every song is singing Zion
    Place Name: Shotover
    Place Name: Corn Puss Gap
      xx. in which the cartographer tells off the rastaman
    Place Name: Half Way Tree
    Place Name: Edinburgh Castle
    Hymn to the Birds
    Filop Plays the Role of Papa Ghede (2010)
    When Considering the Long, Long Journey of 28,000 Rubber Ducks
      xxiv. in which the cartographer attends Reggae Sumfest
    The Blood Cloths
    Place Name: Bloody Bay
    For Pat Saunders, West Indian Literature Critic, after her Dream
    In Praise of Maps
    My Mother’s Atlas of Dolls
    Place Name: Flog Man
    Place Name: Try See
    What River Mumma Knows
      xxvi. in which the rastaman gives a sermon
      xxvii. in which the rastaman says a benediction

    Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. Kei writes across a range of genres: novels, books of short stories, essays and poetry. His poetry has been shortlisted for awards such as the Jonathan Llewelyn Ryhs Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Scottish Book of the Year. His fiction has ... read more
    Awards won by Kei Miller Short-listed, 2014 Costa Book Awards for Poetry (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) Short-listed, 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) Winner, 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion)
    'The verse movement here, the interplay of sound values in inner rhyme and consonantal pairing, in fact the whole lyrical movement of the text, I find exemplary.'
    Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review
    Praise for Kei Miller 'A tremendous range of writing as excellent Jamaican poets rub shoulders with peers from Haiti, Trinidad and the Bahamas. Diverse and stimulating.'
    Independent on Sunday
    'These captivating poets write from the heart with poems which range from the spare and haunting to the risky and experimental. There are surprises, there is beauty, there are pleasures to be discovered, there is much to be enjoyed.'
    Bernardine Evaristo
    'Some of the most exciting poetry I've read in years. Radiant utterance that speaks of island experiences and gender politics from a deep well of understanding, with empathy, humour and insight. An extraordinary new voice singing with clarity and grace.'
    Olive Senior
    'Raise high the roofbeams, here comes a strong new presence in poetry...Kei Miller's is a voice we will hear much more of, for it speaks and sings with rare confidence and authority.'
    Lorna Goodison
    '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
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog PN Review 247: Editorial read more Jenny Lewis: Recording Gilgamesh read more Closet System: Rowland Bagnall read more Les's Portrait Head: Jonathan Hirschfeld read more Dollhouse on Fire: Sheri Benning read more Rebecca Goss on Alison Watt read more
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2019 Carcanet Press Ltd