Kamau Brathwaite is an inventive, evolving Afro-Carribean poet who has published over 20 volumes of poetry, beginning with more traditional forms early in his career and moving towards distinctive, invented forms and dialects in his more recent books. Middle Passages contains poems the exemplify what Brathwaite himself calls "National Language" and several are set in the custom font "Sycorax." Gabe Gudding wrote a useful Brathwaite Entry in the Facts on File Companiion to 20th Century American Poetry.

Students should listen to several poems from the Brathwaite Pennsound page His first radio interview for Cross-Cultural Poets, archived on Pennsound, may also be of interest.

Please also read the post-colonial theorist Edouard Glissant's essay "Free and Forced Poetics" (pp. 95-101) in Alcheringa 2.2 This theorist lays the groundwork for what Brathwaite calls "nation language." (You'll also find interesting articles, translations, and transcriptions of oral poetry in other volumes of this historic journal: http://ethnopoetics.com/index.html)

For those who would like to better understand Brathwaite's poetics, I recommend:
  1. Brathwaite, Kamau. Roots. (a collection of essays and reviews written by Brathwaite)
  2. Brathwaite, Kamau. - Conversations with Nathaniel Mackey
  3. Brown, Steward. The Art of Kamau Brathwaite. Austin: University of Texas, 2008.