Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Edward Kamau Brathwaite (BRATH-wayt) has published scores of books, articles, and reviews as a historian and literary critic. Among his historical studies are The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (1971), which was his dissertation in college in the 1960’s; Contradictory Omens: Cultural Diversity and Integration in the Caribbean (1974); Caribbean Man in Space and Time (1974); and History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry (1984). His historical studies have delineated the historical pressures that have shaped modern-day Caribbean life. He is particularly interested in the transmission of African culture to the New World, the “’little’ tradition of the ex-slave,” and its promise to serve as a “basis for creative reconstruction” in postemancipation, postcolonial Creole society. His literary criticism has sought out the presence of African traditions in Caribbean literature and has helped to develop a vigorous, indigenous school of West Indian criticism. Brathwaite’s work as poet, critic, and historian has made available to a wide audience the rich cultural heritage of Caribbean people.