To Sweeten Bitter by Raymond Antrobus
Published by Outspoken Press, London, 2017
To Sweeten Bitter, Raymond Antrobus’ third pamphlet, is a deeply moving and important collection. Within these twenty-one poems, Antrobus deftly interweaves personal grief and the individual struggle to reclaim a sense of identity after his father’s death with postcolonial grief and the continued struggle for a sense of identity among persons of dual heritage living in a postcolonial world.
Bhanu Kapil’s The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers
I discovered Bhanu Kapil in January this year, by chance, when reading a Laura Mullen interview
in which she discussed experimental poetry and hybrid forms of literature (it is an excellent interview, by the by). I Googled Kapil and found extracts of her work on poetry.org (these are the exact links: here
) and let’s just say – it was love at first read.
The vivid sumptuousness of Kapil’s language, the unconventional daring of both content and style dazzled my senses, left me dizzy for more. I went and purchased all of her books, and I’ve been slowly working my way through them – very slowly, in fact, because these are the kinds of books that you simultaneously want to devour and never finish; the kinds of books in which each sentence could be unpacked for hours or days and still be powerfully rewarding.
Recently I stumbled upon notes I had written while reading Bhanu’s first novel, The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001), and I thought that I would share them here.