|Born||Lawson Edward Brathwaite|
11 May 1930
|Died||4 February 2020|
|Pen name||Edward Brathwaite; Edward Kamau Brathwaite|
|Notable works||Rights of Passage (1967) |
Edward Kamau Brathwaite (/kəˈmaʊ ˈbræθweɪt/; born 11 May 1930) was a Barbadian poet and academic, widely considered one of the major voices in the Caribbean literary canon. Formerly a professor of Comparative Literature at New York University, Brathwaite was the 2006 International Winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize, for his volume of poetry Born to Slow Horses.
Brathwaite holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex (1968) and was the co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM). He received both the Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships in 1983, and is a winner of the 1994 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Bussa Award, the Casa de las Américas Prize for poetry, and the 1999 Charity Randall Citation for Performance and Written Poetry from the International Poetry Forum.
Brathwaite is noted for his studies of Black cultural life both in Africa and throughout the African diasporas of the world in works such as Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica (1970); The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (1971); Contradictory Omens (1974); Afternoon of the Status Crow (1982); and History of the Voice (1984), the publication of which established him as the authority of note on nation language.
Brathwaite often makes use of a combination of customized typefaces (some resembling dot matrix printing) and spelling, referred to as Sycorax video style.
1.1 Early life and education
1.2 The years in Ghana
1.3 Return to the Caribbean and UK
1.4 "Maroon years" and afterwards
2 Honours and awards
3 Selected works
4 Critical writing about Brathwaite
6 External links
Early life and education
Born Lawson Edward Brathwaite in the capital city of Bridgetown, Barbados, he started his secondary education in 1945 at Harrison College in Bridgetown. In 1949 he won the Barbados Island Scholarship to attend Cambridge University, where he studied English and History.
In 1953, Brathwaite received an honours B.A. in History from Pembroke College, Cambridge, and he also began his association with the BBC's Caribbean Voices programme in London. In 1954 he received a Diploma of Education from Pembroke College, Cambridge.
The years in Ghana
The year 1955 found Brathwaite working as an Education Officer on the Gold Coast/Ghana with the Ministry of Education. In 1960 he married Doris Monica Wellcome, a Guyanese graduate in Home Economics and Tropical Nutrition from the University of Leicester, while he was on home leave from Ghana.
While in Ghana, Brathwaite's writing flowered, with Odale's Choice (a play) premiering in Ghana at Mfantsiman Secondary School. A full production of the play was later taken to Accra.
Return to the Caribbean and UK
In 1962–63, Brathwaite crossed the waters again and found himself as Resident Tutor in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies in St Lucia. Later in 1963, he made his journey to the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica, to teach in the History Department.
In 1966, Brathwaite spearheaded, as co-founder and secretary, the organization of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM) from London.
In 1971 he launched Savacou, a journal of CAM, at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica. That same year, Brathwaite received the name Kamau from Ngugi wa Thiong'o's grandmother at Limuru, Kenya, while on a City of Nairobi Fellowship to the University of Nairobi.
His doctoral thesis from Sussex University on The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica was published in 1971 by Oxford University Press, and in 1973 he published what is generally considered his best work, The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy, comprising three earlier volumes: Rights of Passage (1967), Masks (1968) and Islands (1969). An exhaustive bibliography of his work, entitled EKB: His Published Prose & Poetry, 1948-1986 was produced by his wife, Doris Monica Brathwaite, in 1986. In response to her death later that year, Brathwaite wrote The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926-7 September 1986.
"Maroon years" and afterwards
Kamau Brathwaite spent three self-financed "Maroon Years", 1997 to 2000, at "Cow Pasture", his now famous and, then, "post-hurricane" home in Barbados. During this period he married Beverley Reid, a Jamaican.
In 1992 Brathwaite took up the position of Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University, subsequently dividing his residence between Barbados and New York.
In 1994, Brathwaite was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature for his body of work, nominated by Ghanian poet and author Kofi Awoonor, edging out nominees including Toni Morrison, Norman Mailer, and Chinua Achebe.
In 2002 the University of Sussex presented Kamau Brathwaite with an Honorary Doctorate.
In 2006, he was the sole person that year to be awarded a Musgrave gold medal by the Institute of Jamaica, with eight silver and bronze medals going to other recipients. In 2010, Brathwaite reported the theft of the medal, as well as other items from his New York home in the previous four years.
Brathwaite is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at New York University and currently resides in Cow Pasture, Barbados.
Honours and awards
1970: Cholmondeley Award
1983: Guggenheim Fellowship
1983: Fulbright Fellowship
1987: Companion of Honour of Barbados (CHB)
1994: Neustadt International Prize for Literature
1999: Charity Randall Citation for Performance and Written Poetry from International Poetry Forum
2002: Honorary doctorate, University of Sussex
2006: Griffin Poetry Prize, International Winner
2006: Gold Musgrave Medal for Literature from the Institute of Jamaica
2007: President's Award, St. Martin Book Fair
2010: W. E. B. Du Bois Award
2011: Casa de las Americas Premio
2015: Robert Frost Medal from Poetry Society of America
2018: PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry
Selected works of Brathwaite and the year of publication follow:
Four Plays for Primary Schools (1964)
Odale's Choice (1967)
Rights of Passage (1967)
Folk Culture of the Slaves in Jamaica (1970)
The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (1971)
The Arrivants (1973)
Contradictory Omens: Cultural Diversity and Integration in the Caribbean (1974)
Days & Nights (1975)
Black + Blues 1976. ISBN 9780811213134, OCLC 638843322
Mother Poem (1977)
History of the Voice (1979)
Jamaica Poetry (1979)
Barbados Poetry (1979)
Sun Poem (1982)
Afternoon of the Status Crow (1982)
Gods of the Middle Passage (1982)
Third World Poems (1983)
History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry (1984)
Jah Music (1986)
Sappho Sakyi's Meditations (1989)
Middle Passages (1992)
The Zea Mexican Diary: 7 September 1926 - 7 September 1986 1993. ISBN 9780299136406, OCLC 27936656
Trenchtown Rock (1993)
Barabajan Poems (1994)
Dream Stories (1994)
Words Need Love Too (2000)
Ancestors 2001. ISBN 9780811214483, OCLC 44426964
Magical Realism (2002)
Born to Slow Horses Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2006. ISBN 9780819567451, OCLC 552147442 (winner of the 2006 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
Limbo. As published in Oxford AQA GCSE English Anthology, 2005 and 2008
Elegguas. Wesleyan University Press. 15 October 2010. ISBN 978-0-8195-6943-1. OCLC 436358418. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
Strange Fruit 2016. ISBN 9781845233082, OCLC 999357248
Liviticus 2017. ISBN 9780996224239, OCLC 983824256
The Lazarus Poems 2017. ISBN 9780819576880, OCLC 984512184
Kamau Brathwaite, Le détonateur de visibilite / The Visibility Trigger, traduction par Maria-Francesca Mollica et Christine Pagnoulle, Louvain: Cahiers de Louvain, 1986.
Kamau Brathwaite, Los danzantes del tiempo: antología poética, selección, introducción y entrevista, Christopher Winks; versión en español Adriana González Mateos y Christopher Winks, México: Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, 2009.
Kamau Brathwaite, La unidad submarina: ensayos caribeños, Selección, estudio preliminar y entrevista de Florencia Bonfiglio, Buenos Aires: Katatay, 2010.
Kamau Brathwaite, "Retamar", "Word-Making Man", "The New Year Midnight Poems", "Nest", "Calabash", "Song", cura e traduzione di Andrea Gazzoni, La Rivista dell'Arte, 2:2 (2012), 168–212.1
Kamau Brathwaite, RêvHaïti, traduction par Christine Pagnoulle, Montréal: Mémoire d'Encrier, 2013.
Kamau Brathwaite, Diritti di passaggio, cura e traduzione di Andrea Gazzoni, Rome: Ensemble Edizioni, 2014.
Kamau Brathwaite, "Missile e capsula", in Andrea Gazzoni, Pensiero caraibico: Kamau Brathwaite, Alejo Carpentier, Édouard Glissant, Derek Walcott, Rome: Ensemble Edizioni, 2016.
Critical writing about Brathwaite
Emily Allen Williams, The Critical Response to Kamau Brathwaite. Praeger, 2004.
Timothy J. Reiss. For The Geography of A Soul: Emerging Perspectives on Kamau Brathwaite. Africa World Press, 2002.
Kelly Baker Josephs, "Versions of X/Self: Kamau Brathwaite's Caribbean Discourse", Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
June Bobb, Beating a Restless Drum: The Poetics of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1997.
ed. Stewart Brown. The Art of Kamau Brathwaite (Seren, 1995, ISBN 9781854110923).
Loretta Collins, "From the 'Crossroads of Space' to the (dis)Koumforts of Home: Radio and the Poet as Transmuter of the Word in Kamau Brathwaite's 'Meridian' and Ancestors", Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
Raphael Dalleo, "Another 'Our America': Rooting a Caribbean Aesthetic in the Work of José Martí, Kamau Brathwaite and Édouard Glissant", Anthurium, 2.2 (Fall 2004).
Montague Kobbe, "Caribbean Identity and Nation Language in Kamau Brathwaite", Latineos, 23 December 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
Melanie Otto, A Creole Experiment: Utopian Space in Kamau Brathwaite's "Video-Style" Works. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009.
Anna Reckin, "Tidalectic Lectures: Kamau Brathwaite's Prose/Poetry as Sound-Space", Anthurium, 1.1 (Fall 2003).
Andrew Rippeon, "Bebop, Broadcast, Podcast, Audioglyph: Scanning Kamau Brathwaite's Mediated Sounds", Contemporary Literature, 55.2 (Summer 2014).
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