Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.
Caliban, (Act 3, Scene 2, 135-143)
How Caliban, The Tempest, and a poet’s exile became the perfect storm for a first book.
I’ve spent a good part of the last 14 years thinking about Caliban. The first time I read The Tempest, his anguish and corrugated selfhood spoke to me so acutely, I felt him to be real. His fevered dreaming as a slave in a stolen kingdom has also been my dreaming, his twangling instruments my own strange music. Like him, I’ve always been an outsider. Home for me has always been a place of unbelonging. This is the strange yet all-too-familiar exile of living in the Caribbean, of being a part of the African diaspora: belonging in two places and no place at all. Home was not my island, which never belonged to us Jamaicans, though it’s all we’ve known, and home was not my family’s house, which we’ve always rented, all of us acutely aware of the fact that we were living in borrowed space, that we could never truly be ourselves there. Home was not the body. Never the body—grown too tall and gangly too quickly, grown toward womanhood too late. Like a city built for myself, home was a place I carved out in my head, where the words were always the right words, where I could speak in English or patois, could formulate a song or a self. Home for me has always been poetry "Gabble Like a Thing Most Brutish"