Cover image for Ancestors : a reinvention of Mother poem, Sun poem, and X/self
Ancestors : a reinvention of Mother poem, Sun poem, and X/self
Brathwaite, Kamau, 1930-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New Directions, 2001.
Physical Description:
473 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR9230.9.B68 A57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Offers a revised edition of Brathwaite's Mother Poem, Sun Poem, and X/Self poems which explore the author's family and childhood in Barbados and his experiences with slavery and colonialism.

Author Notes

Born in Barbados in 1930, scholar, poet, and historian Kamau Brathwaite is the author of scores of books. He won the 1994 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and has twice received the Casa de las Americas Prize.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

A number of august poet and scholar Brathwaite's recent books of poetry contain substantial revisions of earlier works; this 20th collection is the latest and most compelling of them, collecting in one volume a trilogyÄMother Poem, Sun Poem and X/SelfÄfirst published by Oxford University Press between 1977 and 1987. Mother Poem depicts familial and social life in Barbados, while Sun Poem focuses on a father and the growth of a young son, and X/Self posits its mature subject within a larger history that reaches at least as far back to the time when "Rome burns/ & our slavery begins." Ancestors recasts all three books by stressing as strongly as possible the spoken aspects of the text (thereby allowing regional and local dialects to threaten the homogenizing tendencies of "proper" English), cladding them in jagged breaks, computerized glyphs, "Sycorax video style" type, extended puns and unorthodox spellings: "cause no bright/ man cyaaan be// faddah to faddah to faddah/ to sun// if e nevvah get chance/ to the son// light." Extensive passages describe boys fighting, men fishing, women cleaning and adolescents flirting, but at the same time Brathwaite sketches a vast, economically determined history encompassing the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle EastÄas if the shadows of Prospero, Caliban and Miranda extended from the plantation (a frequent setting) across the globe, fiercely throwing exploitation, misery, loneliness, joy, celebration, dignity and humanity into bold, intensely detailed relief. (Feb. 27) Forecast: Derek Walcott and Jamaica Kincaid may get all the press, but Brathwaite is one of the most significant Caribbean-born writers of the 20th century and is recognized as such by academia if not by trade readers. This book will find its way onto varied syllabi and into countless university libraries; smaller poetry collections may want to make the shorter Middle Passages their one Brathwaite. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Rock Seed
Alphap. 17
Twinep. 19
Sam Lordp. 21
Bellp. 27
Feverp. 30
Lixp. 33
Occidentp. 37
Pig morninp. 42
CowPastorp. 44
Tear or pear shapep. 46
Miss Ownp. 51
Horse Weeblesp. 55
Woo/Dovep. 58
Pixiep. 67
Heartbreak Hotelp. 72
Hexp. 80
Milkweedp. 83
Valientp. 85
Nam(e)tracksp. 95
Daysp. 105
Nightsp. 109
Cherriesp. 114
Prayerp. 119
Moth airp. 127
Angel/Enginep. 138
Mid/Lifep. 143
Driftwordp. 154