100 Poems from Trinidad and Tobago

by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger

Anthologizing the poetry of Trinidad and Tobago is a noble undertaking, and one for which it seems not many publications exist. Difficult as it may be to provide a comprehensive guide to the nation’s poetic heartbeat, this new collection puts forth a valiant effort. Edited by Ian Dieffenthaller and Anson Gonzalez, published by Cane Arrow Press in 2012, 100 Poems from Trinidad and Tobago feels like a work that’s long overdue. It presents pieces from a diverse selection of writers, including a handful of fresh and promising talents, alongside well-established veterans.

In her Trinidad Guardian Sunday Arts Section interview with Ian Dieffenthaller, Lisa Allen-Agostini takes note of the co-editor’s hopes for a generous portrait of Trinbagonian poetic identity. Dieffenthaller is quoted as saying:

“The collection was chosen to reflect as many constituencies that I could identify and do justice to. I’m not saying that we’ve covered every root and branch but we did our best. […] After 1970 it’s virtually impossible to choose a representative sample. So much stuff was written after that so we just chose what we felt would fit that bill of T&T provenance.”

Prefaced by a comprehensive introduction that’s written by Dieffenthaller himself, 100 Poems from Trinidad and Tobago recommends itself as a must-have for anyone interested in seeing how poetry lives in our society: the ways in which the form, and its concerns, have both changed and remained essentially the same.

For more information on Cane Arrow Press and their publications, you can visit their official website and browse their catalogue.