SARGASSO SEA SCROLLS takes us on an evocative journey to the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao, evoking slave experiences through historical remains, human memories, and the poet’s own associations with his native West Africa and current homes in Puerto Rico and Canada. The poetry is often graphic, with lines in Spanish, and shows parallels in landscape, food, and language, between West Africa and the Caribbean.
Poetry. African & African American Studies.
“In this new collection, Kuwabong searches for a poetics resting in a cartographic sensibility. His poems bloom from islands, churn at continental coasts, exhaust the borders of the page, and arrange themselves in defiant architectures. Kuwabong’s lens is expansive, the historical record appears and recedes into an Atlantean ‘sea-salt of history’—but the overarching concern remains an ancestral sensibility, a deep investment on the lives gone before along the varied coasts of the Atlantic. The larger beauty of this work however, is in its interrogation of sound. In this, the voices of Kamau Brathwaite and M NourbeSe Phillip resound, and buttress the poet’s leaving ‘no mirages of hope’ but an echoing call towards work and faith.”
—Richard Georges, Winner of the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for Epiphaneia; author of Giant; founding editor of Moko: caribbean arts and letters
“Here’s a poetic sensibility that engages with the features encountered in nature and the myths they engendered—in Costa Rica, Curacao, and certainly the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where Irma and Maria reincarnate Huracán and show who governs the land and water and every thing on or in it. These poems require more than the usual work that poetry demands of readers, but the extra effort is richly rewarded.”
—H Nigel Thomas, 2022 Winner of the Canada Council John Molson Prize for the Arts; author of Easily Fooled, The Voyage, and Fate’s Instruments
“The poems in SARGASSO SEA SCROLLS: OFICIOS DE LA MEMORIA (Dated: 1843 Guadeloupe) have been in the process of being written for more than five hundred years. Having been chosen as their vehicle and scribe, Ghanaian Canadian poet Dannabang Kuwabong articulates unique polyglossic poetics in dialectic energies of creation in an archipelago of language, images, and poetry. The fragmentariness of these ‘scrolls’ might sometimes appear as parts lost in the deterioration of their parchment. The illusion is apt: Dannabang Kuwabong wanders through these isles full of noises, moving with a Pan-African consciousness that resists the infamy of erasure and oblivion. Memory inhabits the locus of poetry and the structures of language. Dannabang Kuwabong has given us poems that flow and move, constative and performative, into the future of Caribbean poetry.”
—Elidio La Torre Lagares, author of Cuerpos sin sombras, Vicios de construcción, Septiembre, and Gracia
Dannabang Kuwabong is a Ghanaian Canadian born in Nanville in the Upper West Region of Ghana. He was educated in Ghana, Scotland, and Canada, and teaches Caribbean literature at the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan. His publications include Konga and other Dagaaba Folktales (Woeli Publishing Services, 1992); Visions of Venom (Woeli Publishing Services, 1995); CARIBBEAN BLUES & LOVE'S GENEALOGY (Mawenzi House, 2008); Echoes from Dusty Rivers (Capricornus Enterprises, 1999); and VOICES FROM KIBULI COUNTRY (Mawenzi House, 2013). He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.