Brathwaite, Edward Kamau
Edward Kamau Brathwaite 1930-
Contemporary Barbadian poet, playwright, literary critic, and scholar.
The following entry presents criticism of Brathwaite's poetry from 1968 through 2001.
Brathwaite is one of the Caribbean's most honored writers. He is known chiefly for The Arrivants (1973), a trilogy of poetry volumes in which a uniquely Caribbean identity is set forth, incorporating ties to Africa and the lasting effects of slavery. Born in Barbados, Brathwaite has long been compared to another famous Caribbean poet, the Nobel Prize-winning Derek Walcott. Brathwaite was strongly influenced by the works of T. S. Eliot but his penchant for jazz, rhythmic experimentation, and his love of Caribbean vernacular are the most evident features of his poetry. His emphasis on the oral tradition in poetry has led him to produce several sound recordings. Holding positions at universities in the West Indies, England, and the United States, Brathwaite has had a distinguished academic career during which he has written and edited several highly respected works of criticism, essays, and scholarly histories of the Caribbean.
Brathwaite was born on May 11, 1930, in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. He attended the island's elite Harrison College, where he started a school newspaper to which he contributed essays about jazz. While at Harrison he also began publishing stories in Bim, an influential literary journal published in Barbados in which his writings would continue to appear for many years. In 1949 Brathwaite was awarded the Barbados Island Scholarship to Cambridge, where he studied history and English. He graduated with honors in 1953. After taking an additional year to earn a teaching certificate, in 1955 he joined the British colonial service and was posted on the Gold Coast, where he lived until 1962. While on the Gold Coast—which became Ghana during his time there—he held several civil service posts that put him into regular contact with the everyday people of West Africa, an experience that inspired his poetry and informed much of his scholarly work. During his journeys to England and Africa, many of his poems and stories were broadcast on the BBC's Caribbean Voices.
On one visit home he met Doris Welcome, and in 1960 they were married. In 1962 Brathwaite left Ghana with his wife and infant son to take a position with the University of the West Indies. His return to the West Indies made him aware of many continuities between the cultures of rural Africa and the contemporary Caribbean. He began exploring these links in poems and chronicling them in scholarly writings. In 1965 he went to England to study at the University of Sussex, and in 1968 he was awarded a Ph.D. in history for research on slave and Creole culture in the Caribbean. As he embarked on his scholarly work, he also began to publish the poetry volumes eventually collected as The Arrivants. Published individually between 1967 and 1969, the three volumes of the The Arrivants garnered Brathwaite tremendous attention and praise. Brathwaite began taking guest appointments at prestigious universities such as Harvard and Yale while receiving honors such as Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships, and, in 1994, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Whereas Brathwaite's first trilogy celebrated what he termed “nation language,” his second trilogy of poems, written in the 1970s, presents fragments of speech, society, and culture that reflect the folk culture brought to the West Indies by the African slaves. It was also in the 1970s that Brathwaite began publishing under the name Kamau, given to him in Ghana.
Since the 1980s Brathwaite has been engaged in a project to bring to light the cultural, linguistic, and historical links between Africa and the Caribbean. The mid- and late 1980s proved a very difficult time for Brathwaite, as his wife died in 1986 and in 1988 Hurricane Gilbert destroyed his home and buried almost all his papers in mud. Two years later he was robbed and beaten in Jamaica. These traumas contributed to his decision to leave the West Indies in 1991 and take his current position at New York University.
Brathwaite's poetry has been a continued examination and celebration of the cultural and linguistic continuities between Africa and the Caribbean. Rights of Passage (1967), Masks (1968) and Islands (1969), which were published in 1973 as The Arrivants, remain Brathwaite's most lauded and discussed works. The poems move from Africa and the myths of the Ashanti empire to the Caribbean. John Povey interprets them as descriptions of a search for identity by both Brathwaite individually and the peoples of the Caribbean collectively. The Jamaican poet and critic Mervyn Morris sees The Arrivants as “a major document of African reconnection” that “draws attention to Caribbean continuities out of Africa.” Other Exiles (1975), which includes poems written from 1950 to the collection's release in 1975, is more personal and introspective than Brathwaite's “national language” poetry. In the 1970s and 1980s Brathwaite published Mother Poem (1977), Sun Poem (1982) and X/Self (1987), all of which comprise an unnamed trilogy that seeks to reveal the fragmentary, historical links between Africa and the Caribbean. More disjointed and reliant on puns and wordplay, these poems reveal Brathwaite's debt to jazz masters such as Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. His most recent works have become more abstract, as is his The Zea Mexican Diary (1993), written in response to the death of his wife.
Early in his career, Brathwaite was repeatedly compared with another famous Caribbean poet, Derek Walcott. Patrica Ismond concludes that Walcott is the better craftsman, a type of “poet's poet,” but she praised Brathwaite for taking on the role of representative figure for the people of the West Indies, and for representing “their collective destiny.” Indeed, most criticism of Brathwaite focuses on themes such as the continuities between Africa and the Caribbean or Brathwaite's cyclical theory of history and culture. Many critics do close readings of Brathwaite's poems to unearth the shards of African culture Brathwaite includes in his works. Simon Gikandi and others conclude that “oral languages take revenge against institutionalized poetic forms,” and Norman Weinstein traces the influence of jazz in Brathwaite's work. Nana Wilson-Tagoe describes Brathwaite's poetry as a “mode of apprehension, in which the writer seeks community and image through a drama of consciousness.” The vast majority of Brathwaite's critics celebrate his poetry for its rhythms and evocations of the African past in the Caribbean present.
Rights of Passage 1967
The Arrivants 1973
Other Exiles 1975
Days and Nights 1975
Black and Blues 1976
Mother Poem 1977
Word Making Man: A Poem for Nicolas Guillen 1979
Sun Poem 1982
Third World Poems 1983
Jah Music 1986
Middle Passages 1992
Trenchtown Rock 1993
The Zea Mexican Diary 1993
Barabajan Poems, 1942-1992 1994
Words Need Love Too 2000
Odale's Choice (play) 1967
Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica (history) 1970 revised edition, 1981
The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (history) 1971
Caribbean Man in Space and Time (history) 1974
Contradictory Omens (history) 1974
National Language Poetry (essays) 1982
History of the Voice (history) 1984
Roots (essays) 1986...
(The entire section is 95 words.)
SOURCE: D'Costa, Jean. “Poetry Review.” Jamaica Journal 2, no. 3 (September 1968): 24-8.
[In the following essay, the author compares Brathwaite to Virgil and focuses on themes of exile.]
It is significant that before Brathwaite the poet comes Brathwaite the historian. Only a historian could create so intimately and fully the world of Rights of Passage and Masks. This world is one we know well: that of the negro in the western hemisphere. But while others like Cesaire and Baldwin have treated this world fragment by fragment, Edward Brathwaite attempts a synthesis of a splintered, shattered area of experience, and manages to bind together in a single poetic vision both Louisiana and Brixton, the Golden Stool of the Asante and the slums of Harlem. In Rights of Passage we are shown the panorama in time and space of the exile and wanderings of the negro. In Masks, which completes our understanding of Rights …, we are shown the world from which the transported slave came: a world which he now regards with some romanticism, some indifference, and much ignorance. Both books consist of lyric poems which develop a central theme, each poem an essential link in the argument of the whole. Such is the forcefulness of Brathwaite's vision in these thematic poems, that one is quite unable to set either book aside without reading to the end. This is not to say that the writing is...
(The entire section is 3485 words.)
SOURCE: Ismond, Patricia. “Walcott Versus Brathwaite.” Caribbean Quarterly 17, nos. 3-4 (September-December 1971): 54-71.
[In the following essay, Ismond revisits and reconsiders a once-common comparison between Brathwaite and Derek Walcott. She finds Walcott by far the better craftsman.]
Since Edward Lucie-Smith's pronouncement that the West Indies must choose between Walcott and Brathwaite, there has arisen something of a controversy about these two figures. There is a sense in which this kind of quarrel was inevitable in the present atmosphere of liberation, and one of the first things that needs to be established is that it is not an irrelevant question within this context. Some attempt has been made to resolve the issue by pointing out that it is futile to attempt a comparison when the two are obviously doing such widely different things. Those who take this position have not, as far as I can gather, tried to examine the differences if only to prove their point. Others think that the whole thing falls into place when we see them as complementary rather than opposed. This is the view that Rohlehr expresses in his essay on Islands, entitled “The Poet as Historian.”1 Here again no one has really ventured to show in what ways they are complementary. There remains, as a result, a great deal of indeterminacy surrounding this matter, and it has tended to give rise to a Brathwaite...
(The entire section is 7333 words.)
SOURCE: Brown, Lloyd Wellesley. “The Cyclical Vision of Edward Brathwaite.” In West Indian Poetry, pp. 139-58. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1978.
[In the following essay, Brown traces a communal voice through Brathwaite's collections Rights of Passage, Masks and Islands, which the author claims demonstrates “the cycles of black New World culture in time and space.”]
It has become a custom in West Indian criticism to discuss Walcott and Brathwaite as opposites.1 Walcott himself ventured some scepticism about the Walcott-versus-Brathwaite debate, preferring (as he did during a visit to the University of Southern California in 1974) to emphasize the similarities between himself and Brathwaite. The interest in drawing comparisons and contrasts between the two is inevitable, given the fact that they have been easily the most dominant and significant West Indian poets, especially since the 1960's. And by a similar token, Walcott's impatience with the emphasis on the differences between himself and Brathwaite is understandable since there has been a tendency to describe them in exclusive terms—Walcott as the Western-oriented craftsman and individualist and Brathwaite as the epic poet and master seer of the black diaspora. In fact there are enough similarities to justify Walcott's impatience. From a general historical point of view their works are the culmination of...
(The entire section is 6969 words.)
SOURCE: Povey, John. “The Search for Identity in Edward Brathwaite's The Arrivants.” World Literature Written in English 27, no. 2 (autumn 1987): 274-89.
[In the following essay, Povey characterizes The Arrivants as a description of Brathwaite's personal search for identity that resonates with an overarching quest for a Caribbean identity.]
Once when we went to Europe, a rich old lady asked: Have you no language of your own no way of doing things did you spend all those holidays at England's apron strings?(1)
A central theme in Caribbean literature is the absence of a national or regional identity. History denied the residents of these islands the common process that formulates group cohesion. The iniquitous slave trade established African origins which constitute the ultimate inheritance, but that remains folk memory against which present experience is measured, rather than a system which can be adopted directly. A nearer impact derives from the consequences of white colonial behaviour reinforced by the impress of the English language and educational curriculum that produces an antagonistic tension. That sequence of African origin followed by slavery, cultural deprivation, economic exploitation and partial if resented assimilation is the cultural history of the Caribbean. It matches closely the history of American blacks. By deliberate policy in both regions, African...
(The entire section is 5007 words.)
SOURCE: Rohlehr, Gordon, and E. A. Markham. “Rohlehr on Brathwaite.” In Hinterland: Caribbean Poetry from the West Indies & Britain, edited by E. A. Markham, pp. 109-16. Newcastle on Tyne, UK: Bloodaxe Books, 1995.
[In the following interview, Rohlehr, an authority on Brathwaite's poetry, expresses admiration for Brathwaite's growth as an artist and reflects on the critical reaction to Brathwaite's work, especially among Caribbean writers.]
There are a number of possible ways I might have gone about it. I could have selected a number of concerns in the Trilogy [The Arrivants], for example, spoken about imagery. I felt that as a first exploratory work on the Trilogy. I should retrace in my criticism the journey which the [The Arrivants.] was about. The Trilogy is about a journey, or several journeys, which are all tributaries of a single journey. And it's interesting when you take that line, how many things come together. For example, I used that word tributaries, right away you've got the river, and the image of several branches coming in to form a stream, and you've got the idea of the trail. Then you've got that central image in the Trilogy of Anancy, the spider's web. You can see the spider's web, the trail, the river, the strands, the themes, all come together in such an intricate way that what you have is a network or a web; several tissues or strands joining together....
(The entire section is 3506 words.)
SOURCE: Gikandi, Simon. “E. K. Brathwaite and the Poetics of the Voice: The Allegory of History in ‘Rights of Passage.’” Callaloo 14, no. 3 (summer 1991): 727-36.
[In the following essay, the author examines “Rights of Passage” as an example of a poem “in which oral languages take revenge against institutionalized poetic forms.”]
At the beginning was the shout—the beginning is, for us, the time when Creole was created as a means of communication between the master and his slaves. It was then that the peculiar syntax of the shout took hold. To the Antillean the word is first and foremost a sound. Noise is a speech. Din is a discourse.
Edouard Glissant, “Free and Forced Poetics”
Like many other poets in the Caribbean, Edward K. Brathwaite began his writing career under the anxiety of cultural identity and a crisis of writing. He was brought up in a colonial tradition which emphasized the hegemony and desirability of European culture at the expense of the Antillean tradition, which slavery and colonial domination had tried to repress or deny. The West Indies was not perceived as the source of meaningful cultural expression; on the contrary, it was a scene of fear and rejection, a place devoid of those forces that trigger poetic beginnings. “I was a West Indian,” Brathwaite was to observe years later,...
(The entire section is 4657 words.)
SOURCE: Morgan, Mary E. “Highway to Vision: This Sea Our Nexus.” World Literature Today 68, no. 4 (autumn 1994): 663-68.
[In the following essay, Brathwaite's sister reflects on the importance of the Caribbean Sea as an influence on her brother's poetry. She attempts to show how the movements of the sea are reflected in the rhythms of Brathwaite's work.]
1. We were brought up by the sea. I do not mean merely that as island people we saw the sea always there, but that our home was actually by the sea; the Round House where we grew up looked out on Brown's Beach and Carlisle Bay. And we came to appreciate, and to learn, the movement of the sea, which forms so much a part of Kamau's work. The sea, our highway out (migration, to study),1 our wave-ride back—back to what Brathwaite calls “the centre,” after England and Ghana: “I had, at that moment of return, completed the triangular trade of my historical origins.”2
The sound and rhythm, the movement, the restlessness, and indeed the changeable nature of the sea are constantly reflected in his work, especially in Mother Poem [MP] (1977) and Sun Poem [SP] (1982), his two long works about growing up in Barbados.
up the slope of the beach a crab pauses flickering white beads of ground stone spotted with coral in a day lazy with sea-wrack and glisten, the...
(The entire section is 4207 words.)
SOURCE: Gowda, H. H. Anniah. “Creation in the Poetic Development of Kamau Brathwaite.” World Literature Today 68, no. 4 (autumn 1994): 691-96.
[In the following essay, Gowda praises Brathwaite for creating a national language and for moving “from the margins of language and history, from the peripheral realm of ‘the other exiles,’ to the center of civilization, effecting a renaissance of oral poetry and remaking the poetic world.”]
dry stony world-maker, word-breaker, creator …
Edward Brathwaite, “Ananse”1
There are not many historians who have distinguished themselves as poets and prose writers, who can recite poetry with rhythm and melody, not many who have endeavored to create “nation language” and make poetry truly native. Kamau Brathwaite, who has now become the Neustadt Prize laureate for 1994, has all these attributes and accomplishments, as well as the great honor of freeing poetry in English from the tyranny of dying of ossified main tradition. In his 1982 lectures at the Centre for Commonwealth Literature and Research in Mysore, India, he emphasized a “true alternative to Prospero's offering.” “What happened in Shakespeare,” he said, “what happened to Caliban in The Tempest was that his alliances were laughable, his alliances were fatal, his alliances were ridiculous. He chose the wrong people to make God. And if he...
(The entire section is 4267 words.)
SOURCE: Weinstein, Norman. “Jazz in the Caribbean Air.” World Literature Today 68, no. 4 (autumn 1994): 715-18.
[In the following essay, the author, a noted jazz critic, provides examples of poems showing how Brathwaite's love of jazz is a strong influence on his poetry, a claim made by Brathwaite himself. In particular, the author finds the influence of such jazz geniuses as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins.]
If one could assemble in imagination an ultimate jazz band to honor the literary achievement of Kamau Brathwaite, one could not do better than to choose the four musicians his poetry heralds: Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and Duke Ellington. This jazz quartet particularly noteworthy in Brathwaite's poetic world has as much to do with the heroism Brathwaite finds in their lives as with the rich intellectual and spiritual rewards he has discovered in their music over the decades. Without hyperbole, one could look upon Rollins, Coltrane, Ayler, and Ellington as primary sources of poetic inspiration, “muses,” or, even more strikingly, archetypal poetic figures. While it is belaboring the obvious to state that jazz has been a lifetime influence upon Brathwaite's poetry, it is perhaps a revelation to discover just how central the lives of these four musicians have been to his evolving notion of his role as a poet as well as to the forms of his poetry....
(The entire section is 3529 words.)
SOURCE: Reiss, Timothy J. “Reclaiming the Soul: Poetry, Autobiography, and the Voice of History.” World Literature Today 68, no. 4 (autumn 1994): 883-90.
[In the following essay, Reiss links the structure of Brathwaite's poetry to seventeenth-century England by positing that the poet's work often has an underlying structure derived from iambic pentameter, a meter that Brathwaite has tweaked to reflect the historical changes that have led to the postcolonial culture of Barbados.]
Through Kamau Brathwaite's work run three favorite metaphors. The earliest uses the iambic pentameter that had become a norm in English poetry from roughly the seventeenth century. The second represents the Caribbean Islands as the result of a child's (or god's) skipping stones in a great curve across the ocean from the coast of Guyana to the tip of Florida. The third transforms the waters buried deep in the porous rock that is Barbados into the welling of a buried culture whose very concealment has made it the more vital to the life above. The first concerns the constitution, practice, and differentiation of a poetic voice; the second holds an individual's sense of a home place; the third captures something like a collectivity's living cultural and political consciousness.
At the same time, each one works and plays with the other two. More than tropes in language, the finest metaphors are alive and capture...
(The entire section is 6362 words.)
SOURCE: Dash, J. Michael. “Edward Kamau Brathwaite.” In West Indian Literature, 2nd Edition, edited by Bruce King, pp. 194-208. London, UK: McMillian Education Ltd., 1995.
[In the following essay, the author claims that Brathwaite views himself through the Modernist assumption of the poet as divine interpreter, an individual with the power to give one voice to multiple identities and histories. In the case of Brathwaite, this power is used to give voice to the Islands' African ancestry and colonial history.]
Probably the best introduction to the poetry of Edward Kamau Brathwaite is his largely autobiographical essay entitled ‘Timehri’. In this account of his own experiences and how they combined to form an awareness of certain literary and cultural problems, the poet attempts to situate himself in terms of the evolution of West Indian writing. In tracing various tendencies among his fellow-writers, Brathwaite isolates two important phases in a gradual movement from an initial sense of dispossession and fragmentation towards a more recent attempt to go beyond this sense of disintegration and to envisage the positive forces of creolization in the Caribbean context:
The problem of and for West Indian artists and intellectuals is that having been born and educated within this fragmented culture, they start out in the world without a sense of ‘wholeness’. …...
(The entire section is 7346 words.)
SOURCE: Morris, Mervyn. “Overlapping Journeys: The Arrivants.” In The Art of Kamau Brathwaite, edited by Stewart Brown, pp. 117-31. Melksham, UK: Cromwell Press, 1995.
[In the following essay, a poet praises The Arrivants as “a major document of African reconnection” that “draws attention to Caribbean continuities out of Africa.”]
Of the many useful and interesting discussions of The Arrivants1 or of individual books in the trilogy, there are two I am anxious to recommend. Maureen Warner-Lewis' Masks: Essays & Annotations2 and Gordon Rohlehr's Pathfinder3 are of value not only for their critical judgements but also for the wealth of information they provide about the contexts of the poetry. Inter alia, Warner-Lewis guides us through West African detail, and Rohlehr elucidates many allusions to jazz and other manifestations of Africa-related New World culture. Anyone studying The Arrivants should make early contact with these two items, and will no doubt wish to explore the rest of the bibliography.
The present essay is introductory, offering a very brief outline of the trilogy, its origins, its shape, its main concerns, and a glance at some of its techniques.
In an autobiographical essay called ‘Timehri’4 Brathwaite describes himself as a Barbadian “from an urban...
(The entire section is 4719 words.)
SOURCE: Torres-Saillant, Silvio. “Kamau Brathwaite and the Caribbean Word.” In Caribbean Poetics: Towards an Aesthetic of West Indian Culture, pp. 93-122. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
[In the following essay, examples of the Caribbean language, religion, and culture are teased out of Brathwaite's poems, leading to the conclusion that “Brathwaite insists on a theory of language, culture, and on a philosophy of history that have strong political implications insofar as they aim to liberate the Caribbean mind from the throes of a colonial heritage.”]
… isn't it odd that the only language I have in which to speak of this crime is the language of the criminal who committed the crime?
Jamaica Kincaid (1989: 31)
Few oeuvres stress Caribbean literature's deep concern with language as sharply as that of the Barbadian Kamau Brathwaite. A poet, historian, fiction writer, and critic, Brathwaite became known in the archipelago starting in the early 1950s primarily through his contributions to Bim, then the leading cultural journal in the Anglophone West Indies. He had already gained distinction as one of the leading producers of intellectual discourse in the area when, in 1967, his first published volume of poetry brought him quick recognition throughout the Third World. His more recent honors include the...
(The entire section is 14816 words.)
SOURCE: Pollard, Velma. “Francina and the Turtle and All the Others: Women in EKB.” In For the Geography of the Soul: Emerging Perspectives on Kamau Brathwaite, edited by Timothy J. Reiss, pp. 43-50. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2001.
[In the following essay, Pollard examines the allusions and rhythms of Brathwaite poems that depict women as rescuers.]
He chooses Francina, a simple woman. She who “used to scale / fish in the market.” He makes her save the “humpbacked turtle with the shell-fish eyes …” (IS [Islands] 215).
Brathwaite, railing against the destruction of a park, something precious reserved for the use of the people, chooses a woman to be the rescuer. The turtle she saves is a symbol of what is dearest to him, to all people of similar mind-the island with all that is natural to it.
The poem rails against “the Mayor and Council / thin brown impressive men.” We meet them in the act of destroying the park to build a dance hall and a barbecue. We share the poet's outrage. The lake has become a parking lot. A macaw, monkeys and the “humped hundred /-year old turtle” must go. Francina rescues the turtle. She is the opposing symbol to what the city officials represent. A woman with no resources at all takes pity on the turtle which represents the real values of the islands. The city...
(The entire section is 2178 words.)
SOURCE: McWatt, Mark A. “Looking Back at The Arrivants.” In For the Geography of the Soul: Emerging Perspectives on Kamau Brathwaite, edited by Timothy J. Reiss, pp. 59-65. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2001.
[In the following essay, the author looks back at The Arrivants, in which one can detect “subtle displacements and perturbations caused by the gravitational tug of the author's academic discipline.”]
My first publication after arriving at Cave Hill as a very green Assistant Lecturer in the mid-70s was a review of Kamau Brathwaite's Mother Poem in Bim magazine. The first paragraph of that review was not lacking in effrontery:
As a whole the poem sustains the reader's interest and there is much in it that is effective, but by some reverse alchemical process the golden poetic voice of the earlier poems has been transformed into that of a baser metal. …
At that time I had not yet met the poem's author, but someone suggested to me that he would be very displeased to read that and a few other sentences in the first paragraph of my review. This bothered me and I consulted my most approachable colleague at the time, Michael Gilkes, asking him what he thought. Michael said that he had not yet read the review but that Kamau was one of the most important and celebrated of...
(The entire section is 2414 words.)
Asein, Samuel Omo. “Symbol and Meaning in the Poetry of Edward Brathwaite.” World Literature Written in English 20, no. 1 (spring 1981): 94-104.
Examines symbols in Brathwaite's poems, especially symbols of circularity in individuals and civilizations.
Brown, Stewart. “Sun Poem: The Rainbow Sign?” In The Art of Kamau Brathwaite, edited by Stewart Brown, pp. 152-62. Melksham, UK: Cromwell Press, 1995.
Sun Poem is given a close reading to reveal Brathwaite's use of rainbows as symbols and metaphors of healing.
Chukwu, Augustine. “Bridging the Gulf: The Ancestral Mask and Homecoming in Edward Brathwaite's ‘Masks.’” UFAHAMU 11, no. 2 (fall-winter 1981-82): 131-39.
Discusses Brathwaite's use of imagery in his poem “Masks,” especially in representing the poet as a “living diviner” who connects the past and present and Africa and the Caribbean.
Cobham, Rhonda. “K/Ka/Kam/Kama/Kamau: Brathwaite's Project of Self-Naming in Barabajan Poems.” In For the Geography of the Soul: Emerging Perspectives on Kamau Brathwaite, edited by Timothy J. Reiss, pp. 297-315. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2001.
Brathwaite's transformation from “Edward Brathwaite” to “Kamau Brathwaite” is traced through his collection...
(The entire section is 612 words.)