The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
- Kei Miller (a published student)
- May 2014
- Carcanet Press Ltdtd
About the publication
WINNER of the 2014 Forward Prize for best collection.
In this collection, acclaimed Jamaican poet Kei Miller dramatizes what happens when one system of knowledge, one method of understanding place and territory, comes up against another. We watch as the cartographer, used to the scientific methods of assuming control over a place by mapping it, is gradually compelled to recognize--even to envy--a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman's eternal city of Zion. As the book unfolds the cartographer learns that, on this island of roads that "constrict like throats," every place-name comes freighted with history, and not every place that can be named can be found.
The verse movement here, the interplay of sound values in inner rhyme and consonantal pairing, in fact the whole lyrical movement of the text, I find exemplary.Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review
Raise high the roofbeams, here comes a strong new presence in poetry... Kei Miller's voice speaks and sings with rare confidence and authority.Lorna Goodison, Jamaican poet and professor, University of Michigan
Kei is doing something you don’t come across often: this is a beautifully voiced collection which struck us all with its boldness and wit. Many poets refer to multiple realities, different ways of observing the world. Kei doesn’t just refer, he articulates them.Jeremy Paxman, Chair of Judges, 2014 Forward Prize
The title, it’s so current, when we think about all these borders fidgeting and wriggling and changing.It questions our traditional idea of what poetry is because he has such a Jamaican voice and his love of rhythm and performance poetry is evident in his work.Cerys Matthews, judge, 2014 Forward Prize