Guyana, poet Martin Carter

This video says about itself:


Martin Carter’s poem/letter to his wife Phyllis from a jail in Guyana.

Ron Robinson reads the poem, Ken performs the song version written by Marc Matthews.

The Theatre Guild, Guyana, 2009.

From London daily The Morning Star:

The Guyanese poet who spoke to all the world

(Tuesday 16 May 2006)

POETRY: 21st Century Prose

THE poetry of Martin Carter is hardly known in Britain.

Since Poems of Resistance from British Guiana was published by Lawrence and Wishart in 1954, his work has been largely unavailable to British readers.

And yet Carter was arguably one of the great radical poets of the 20th century.

At the height of the cold war, his poetry was published in the Soviet Union and China.

His poetry deserves to take its place beside that of Brecht, Aragon, Hikmet, Mayakovsky, Neruda and Faiz.

Born in 1927 in what was then the colony of British Guiana, Carter was a poet and revolutionary, a critic, editor, publisher and arts politician.

He was one of a glittering generation of Caribbean intellectuals such as Cheddi Jagan, Wilson Harris, Andrew Salkey, George Lamming and Walter Rodney.

Together with Jagan, he was a founder member of the socialist People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

In 1953, when the PPP won a landslide victory on a radical programme, the British government declared a state of emergency, dismissed the government and imprisoned Jagan.

Detained for “spreading dissension,” Carter went on hunger strike.

After independence in the 1960s, he was briefly Minister of Information and Culture in the government of Forbes Burnham.

In the 1970s, he was active in popular opposition to Burnham and was beaten up by police on anti-government demonstrations.

When he died in 1997, he was given a state funeral in Georgetown.

University of Hunger; Collected Poems and Selected Prose (Bloodaxe Books, £12) brings together all of Martin Carter’s published poetry for the first time, from the stunning To a Dead Slave (1951) to the posthumously published Suite of Five Poems (2000).

See also here.

The colonial history of British Guiana. GRAHAM STEVENSON explains how the Movement for Colonial Freedom, now Liberation, came into being.

US poet Robert Creeley: here.

8 thoughts on “Guyana, poet Martin Carter

  1. SOAS Friends of Africa (FoA)
    invites you to

    Film and Discussion
    In the Sky’s Wild Noise – Walter Rodney
    Filmed Interview with Walter Rodney, historian, political activist and former student of SOAS.

    Discussion to be introduced by Eric and Jessica Huntley, publishers of Walter Rodney’s books including the classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

    Thursday 26 October 2006 6.30pm

    School of Oriental and African Studies, Khalili Lecture Theatre, Thornhaugh Street (near Russell Square ), London WC1
    07984 405 307


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