April 16, 2008

Fred D’Aguiar's "Elegies for Virginia Tech"

Fred D’Aguiar“A year on, the campus is gearing up for another media blitz and my fellow teachers, students and staff all seem tensed for the replay of last year. The poetry becomes more important because it promises to outlast crude media depictions of spilled blood, broken bones and blinkered melodrama (the shooter, his makeup and psyche is of more interest to the media than his many, many victims).

I find myself ducking for cover into poetry once more.”

Fred D’Aguiar posts two poems for The Guardian.

Caribbean Cookbook For VT.

My mum cooked soul food for my final class:
Fried plantains, cow-tail in a stew of casareep,
Boiled dumplings, sliced pineapple and mango

Juice for our first meeting after the cancelled week.
One student arrived with a bouquet for my mother.
Everyone heaped Pirates of the Caribbean paper plates

For this breakfast, minus one of our number, gone
For good. We ate as if on the heels of a Ramadan
Squeezed into a week of nil by mouth, ears and eyes.

My mum flew to Blacksburg for our joint offer.
She rose before the birds and I helped her skin
Exotica and washed up to keep the kitchen spotless.

At 9AM we breezed into my Caribbean class
And served up honeydew with plates of paradise.

“Elegies for Virginia Tech”—The Guardian


Poet, novelist and playwright Fred D'Aguiar was born in London in 1960 to Guyanese parents. He lived in Guyana until he was 12, returning to England in 1972.

--From Contemporary Writers


Rethabile said...

What a delectable poem. I like everything about it, from the food to the bottled feeling, that is nevertheless there because the bottle is transparent. Great. Thanks Geoffrey, for introducing this poet to me.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Rethabile, Fred is one of those gifted poets who once lived here in Miami, but has now moved on to greener pastures.

His physical presence as another working Caribbean poet is missed, but the fact that he is still writing and publishing is the only consolation.

Bless up,