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Night Vision: Poems
by Kendel Hippolyte
Northwestern University Press, 2006
Cloth: 978-0-8101-5162-8 | Paper: 978-0-8101-5163-5
Library of Congress Classification PR9275.S273H563 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 811/.54

Because we see with history,
it is difficult to see through it. And yet we must
or we become it, become nothing else but history.

It is this challenge, laid down in the powerful title poem of this collection, which Kendel Hippolyte takes up in Night Vision. And the history that Hippolyte penetrates is a history of the change overtaking the island of St. Lucia. As town becomes city and city spreads like a cancer, the poet's searching verse finds among the waste of humanity, nature, and culture a microcosm of the transforming Caribbean-from tradition, community, rooted identity, to social fragmentation, isolation, uncertainty. And yet, in the personal, away from the daytime public glare, Night Vision also finds the possibility of renewal. Engaging society and self, the poet's dialogue is conducted in a range of poetic voices and styles-the traditional forms of sonnet, villanelle, triolet, echo poem, as well as dramatic monologues in Caribbean English idioms and rhythms of speech; poems written to the metrics of blues and rap alongside free verse poems that expand in long-breath incantatory lines and contract in miniaturist forms as concise as graffiti. The joyful linguistic energy of the poems is perhaps what makes them, and us, look beyond the glaring reality they contemplate to a more hopeful, if nighttime, vision.
Born in St. Lucia in 1952, Kendel Hippolyte has published four books of poetry, the most recent being Birthright (Peepal Tree Press, 1997), and his poetry has appeared in various journals. He has twice won the Minvielle & Chastanet Fine Arts Award for Literature, the premier arts award in St.Lucia. In 2000 Hippolyte was awarded the St. Lucia Medal of Merit for his contribution to the arts.
    Not Made with Hands 000
    City 000
    42 Chisel Street 000
    Kinky Blues 000
    City Graffiti 000
    City Voices 000
    The Head of Mary Rackliffe 000
    Temples of Gov 000
    Snow 000
    Gray 000
    The Piper's Song 000
    The Piper's Children 000
    Sale a Millennium Rap 000
    Night Vision 000
    Autocolonial Note 000
    Caribbean Market 000
    Mt. 000
    History 000
    Idioetry 000
    Brodsky 000
    "You May Be Looking at Someone Who's Stopped at Writing" 000
    Lately the Words 000
    Origins 000
    Afterword 000
    Contra Diction 000
    Circle of Joy 000
    Mamoyi 000
    Creation 000
    The Wild Horses of the Ozarks 000
    Ovalea's Bedtime Story to the Third Child 000
    Broken Bowl 000
    Hurricane 000
    The Dogs 000
    Sane Blues 000
    Quay 000
    Bright 000
    Light 000
    Like Wind 000

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