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Archipelagos by Philp, Geoffrey, 9781845235505
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  • ISBN: 9781845235505 | 1845235509
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 4/13/2023

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This is poetry written in the time of onrushing global disaster, of a racist and still imperial USA and of Black Lives Matter. Philp’s powerful and elegant poems span past and present, with a call to arms that opens out the struggle for human survival in the epoch of the Anthropocene to remind us that these horrors began not just in the factories of Europe but in the holds of the slave ships and plantations of the Caribbean. No natural world was more changed than the West Indian islands by sugar monoculture – and, as the title poem begins: “At the end of this sentence, a flood will rise/ and swallow low-lying islands of the Caribbean”. Historically, “the debris of empire that crowd our shores” connects to the “sands of our beaches / littered with masks and plastic bottles.” These are poems of wit and anger, but also of personal intimacy – dealing with the vexed relationship with a violent father – and give us line after line of the shapeliest poetry – in sound, in rhythm and the exact choice of word.
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