Art as Knowing


University of Minnesota
West Bank Arts Quarter
Regis Center for Art
Barbara Barker Center
for Dance

Free and open to the public


Schedule (PDF)

Kamau Brathwaite

Kamau BrathwaiteLocation: The Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415; Phone: 612-215-2575

Title: "Searching for Palmares."

Description: Poetry Reading.

Biography: is born Barbados 1930 and educated there and at Cambridge [University] where he graduated in History 1953. He later returned to England (Sussex University) for his PhD (The development of creole society in Jamaica 1770-1820 <1968; pub OUP 1971> and received an Hon Doctorate of Letters from Sussex in 2002.

Brathwaite worked (1955-1962) as an Education Officer in the Gold Coast/Ghana during its period of Independence, and while there developed (with his wife, Zea Mexican, at Saltpond) a Children's Theatre, that produced (1960-62), Pageant of Ghana, Edina, Odale's Choice (Evans 1968) and several Anansesem for Primary Schools (Longmans 1964).

He returns to work with the University of the West Indies 1962 (St Lucia) and Mona, Jamaica (1963-1991), with that break back to Sussex & London (1966-68) when, in addition to his PhD, he co-founded with John LaRose & Andrew Salkey, the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM), and published the books of his first trilogy, The Arrivants (1973), Rights of Passage <1967>, Masks <1968>, and Islands <1969>.

On return to Mona (1968/69), he continues the Caribbean Artist Movement as the journal & publishing entity, Savacou. It is during this time also that the books of his second trilogy: Mother Poem <1977>, Sun Poem <1982>, and X/Self <1997> tho they don't get published as Ancestors until 2001 (!!).

What is far less well known to readers outside the Caribbean, is Brathwaite's 'Time of Salt', as he calls it: the years 1986 -1900 which see in rapid catastrophic succession, the death of his wife Zea Mexican (1986), the destruction by hurricane of their home & archives at Irish Town in the high hills outside Kingston (1988) and his own death at the hands of apocalpse gunmen in his Kingston apartment in 1990, all chronicled in his structurally new & strangely unknown groundbreaking 'post-catastrophe' work - a third trilogy (not yet collected into a single volume) - The Zea Mexican Diary (1993), Shar (1990), Trench Town Rock (1999)a period which also witnesses, within these works and even more in DreamStories (1994), DreamHaiti (1995), BarabajanPoems (1994) and ConVERSations w/ Nathaniel Mackey (1999), the development of his Sycorax Video Style, continuing into the 2-vol MR (Magical Realism <2002>), Golokwati (2002) and the New Directions edition of Ancestors (2001), which xtend the boundaries of this writer's work far far beyond the accustomed 'definitions' of the first two triologies.

His 'postSalt' poetry is here in Words need love too (House of Nehesi 2000; a new edition/version Salt Publications 2004); in Ark (Savacou 2004) and in Born to Slow Horses (Wesleyan 2005), DS(2) (New Directions) and the AmemPoems (?California); but they should really be read in the continuing contxt of the post1990 Salt/SycoraX and the 2000+ illuminated manuscript CP/MR/DS(3) period

When last heard of, Kb5 is sharing his time between being a janitor of dreams @ New York University, and trying the save from bulldozers the last duncks trees of the slaves @ CowPastor, Barabados, and reading his Antonio Gaudí poem, 'Judas of Barcelona' at the 21st Festival Internacional de Poesia de Barcelona 2005 in the Palau de la Música Catalana on the midnight of his 75th birthday, getting the Griffin on the midnight of his 76th and the Muscradle Gold from the Institute of Jamaica a few days agrow (4 Oct 2006)