In his newest collection of poetry, Laurence Leiberman widens the scope of his previous Caribbean collections by drawing attention to the small enchanting islands of the Grenadines, a chain running between Grenada and St. Vincent. These outposts, often frequented by sailors, are mainly off the beaten tourist tracks. Lieberman’s poems bring to life all the overlooked people, hidden places, and indigenous but rarely seen animals which can be found on these islands.
These poems are as powerful as voodoo, full of energetic narratives in which Lieberman acts as observer while his characters—native “Caribs” and friends—guide us through the mystifying world of Guyana and the Caribbean: the planting of tree farms, local myths and religious sects, the daily crises of manual laborers working in the gold and diamond mines, and encounters with watras and harpy eagles.
Lieberman’s lines are rhythmic and strong; voices swirl in and out of his stanzas. From Lieberman’s own precise observations to his inclusion of Caribbean dialects, the language created here is deeply textured and unique. The majority of these poems are narratives, stories about a culture that is extremely attuned to the richness of its past. They remind their readers that no matter how diverse a society becomes, it remains irrevocably connected to the land it was born of and the plants and animals that struggle to survive in its midst.