Copyright 2016 by Carrie Etter

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Richard Georges' Make Us All Islands (Shearsman, 2017)

June 27, 2017

 

I'm happy to say that this impressive debut has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for best first collection. Here are some favourite passages:

 

 

This patch of sun-seasoned blue opens up to him....

 

from 'The Fisherman Measures Life'

 

 

The broken drum of thunder beats beats the air

in time, drowning the voice of water,

bird, and beast.

 

from 'Prosper's Storm'

 

 

The machete is shadow

& it bite the coconut just so.

 

from 'Cutter Song'

 

 

Black smokes traces the horizon with a finger

while the old boat's engines cough and spit between waves.

The dockers' shouts crack in the ear like buckshot.

 

*

 

Not even the hands on the captain's wheel are brown

when the sea can segregate, make us all islands.

Then the ochre days when the boat pulls into port

I will remember a schooner sailed by brown hands.

 

*

 

The sea is as black as the night, reflecting

nothing but the island's apathy. 

 

*

 

Blooming clouds

hang like the

 

ghosts of slaves.

 

from 'At the Waterside'

 

 

Anger can stitch a smile to his lips....

 

from 'The Domino Player'

 

 

The old West Indian men guffawing at the bar

wear their decades in wrinkles on their faces.

Their laughter hangs lewdly in the air....

 

opening of 'In the Terminal'

 

 

the trees ache in the light, their ashen limbs

a warning to birds: do not alight here

 

from 'Ghazal of Guyana'

 

 

You can purchase Make Us All Islands directly from the publisher here. 

 

 

 

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