Afro-Caribbean Poetry Essay
In this essay I will be studying the various items of poetry from manyAfro-Caribbean poets. One of the poets is Langston Hughes who was born in Joplin, Missouri on the first of February 1902. He started writing poetry after moving to Lincoln, Illinois. The poems I will be studying are “Mulatto” and “I, Too”. The next poet I will be looking at is Grace Nichols. Nichols was born in Guyana in 1950, she came to England in 1977 this is when she developed her fiction and verse writing. The poem I will be studying is “Praise song for my mother”.
The next poet I will look at will be Dr Benjamin Obadiah lqual Zephaniah, he was born in Birmingham, but he spent most of his time in Jamaica. After he spent some time in prison he decided to use his energy for good and educate himself. The poem I will study “I love me mudder”. The last poet work I will be looking at will be John Agard. Agard was born in Guyana in 1949, the country was still a British colony until 1966. In 1977 Agard moved to England. This is where he became the light of the new West Indian British dawn of various bardic compositions. Agard is a poet whom blends calypso styled language with unique sounding spoken word.
The work I will be studying is “Half-caste” I have paired the poems up. The pairs either share the same topic, tone or language. One of the pairs is “Half-caste” by John Agard and “Mulatto” by Langston Hughes, because they have the same type of topic and also tone. “Half caste” is about weather: the term half-caste can be applied to any thing else apart from people. John Agard has written a very good poem witch makes you think about the words we use every day with out knowing the proper meanings and whether it makes any sense when you break the word down. I think that many words we use now are “out of date” and should be changed for politically correct terms and alternatives. Agard also uses some stunning references to get you thinking.
The other half of this pair “Mulatto” tells us about the harsh treatment black women faced at the hands of their white bosses in the slave era and how the women were only used as play things, this is shown in the part “What’s a body but a toy?”. The word “mulatto” means the same as “half caste” but not as many people use it nowadays. The boy in the story has a trouble fitting in with black people and white people and does not have that sense of belonging if he had been born to parents of the same race.
The next pair is “Praise song for my mother” by Grace Nichols and “I love me mudder” by Benjamin Zephaniah. I’ve paired these poems because they share the same topics which is their mothers. “Praise song for my mother” is about how Grace Nichols loved her mother and how she inspired to do the best she could. It’s also how she looked up to her, and how her mother was all the things she likes such as the sunrise and the fried plantain smell. The poem is set in a past tense which seems to tell us the readers that her mother has died.
The second half of my pair is “I love me mudder”. This poem is about how Benjamin Zephaniah’s mother came from Jamaica on a boat called Windrush. Many people came from Jamaica because they thought they would have a better life than the one they all ready had. In black family family (need to delete this) life the figure of the mother is very strong and is the main rule maker in the house, and this poem shows how she works so hard just to make sure her familydon’t go without.
The last pair of poems is “taint” by Grace Nichols and “I, Too” by Langston Hughes these two poems have been joined together because they both have kind of the same topic which shows the pain black people have overcome but still yet we are strong. “taint” is about the treachery that this person has had cast upon them while they where a slave, the fact that they where stolen by men the colour of their own skin. This reminds me of the black on black gang warfare and killings.
This person who trusted the people of their same skin colour was betrayed. This work also shows how these people where traded like they where animals. The poem has a message to everyone: to stop fighting and live peacefully together. The second half of the pair is “I, Too” which shows how black people had to eat in a kitchen when company came but they ate well and became strong. So when company comes no one will dare tell me to eat in the kitchen and now you are ashamed about what you did to me when I was mentally weak. This poem has a promise of hope for change. Hughes suggests that “Tomorrow” things will be different and people will see that beauty and equality of all peoples.