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Castawayby Yvette Christianse
Synopses & Reviews
In Castaway Yvette Christiansë presents an epic yet fragmented poetic story set off the coast of Africa on the island of St. Helena: Napoleon Bonaparte’s final place of exile, a port of call for the slave trade, and birthplace of the poet’s grandmother. Amid echoes of racialized identity and issues of displacement, the poems in Castaway speak with a multiplicity of voices—from Ferñao Lopez (the island’s first exile) and Napoleon to that of a contemporary black woman. Castaway is simultaneously a song of discovery, an anthem of conquest, and a tortured lamentation of exiles and slaves.
Instead of offering a linear narrative, Christiansë renders the poems as if they were emerging from the pages of imaginary books, documents now disrupted and scattered. An emperor’s point of view is juxtaposed with the perspectives of various explorers, sailors, and unknown slaves until finally they all open upon the book’s “castaway,” the authorial female voice that negotiates a way to write about love and desire after centuries of oppression and exploitation.
Daring and sophisticated, Castaway challenges and captivates the reader with not only its lyrical richness and conceptual depth but also its implicit and haunting reflections on diaspora and postcolonialism. It will be highly regarded by readers and writers of poetry and will appeal to those engaged with issues of race, gender, exile, multiculturalism, colonialism, and history.
A collection of poems that explores issues of displacement, diaspora, and racialized identity.
Daring and sophisticated, "Castaway" challenges and captivates the reader with not only its lyrical richness and conceptual depth but also its implicit and haunting reflections on diaspora and postcolonialism. It will be highly regarded by readers and writers of poetry and will appeal to those engaged with issues of race, gender, exile, multiculturalism, colonialism, and history.
About the Author
“A remarkable book. It’s a delight to discover a poet who makes use of all the techniques that have been too readily ceded to fiction: character development, a complex use of place and time, an interweaving of historical fact and writerly imagination, while deploying the compression and verbal legerdemain that are the particular province of the poet.”—Marilyn Hacker
“Yvette Christiansë’s Castaway has a personal and historical trajectory that embraces the emotional velocity of this fine, urgent collection of poems. It conjures silence and great distance, emotionally and physically, but the poems are excursions through language and subject matter aimed at connecting the reader to the unimaginable by a finely-tuned and far-reaching imagination.”—Yusef Komunyakaa
What Our Readers Are Saying
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