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A Leaf in His Ear: Selected Poems

Authors: Mahadai Das

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781900715591

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When Mahadai Das died at the tragically early age of 49, there was an outpouring of grief across the Caribbean that a poet, who never quite had the chance to build a literary career to match her talents, had been lost. She had been known for some time as a highly promising Guyanese poet, but when Peepal Tree published her Bones in 1988, there was widespread critical recognition that here was an outstandingly original new voice. Then severe illness struck and though there followed occasional poems that developed the achievement of Bones, there was no new collection.

This Collected Poems, discussed with Mahadai Das before her death, and organised in co-operation with the poet’s sister, brings together almost all the poems she wrote. It includes I Want to Be a Poetess of My People (1976), My Finer Steel Will Grow (1982), and Bones (1988). In addition, A Leaf in His Ear brings together many of the fine poems published in journals and previously uncollected, and some unpublished work, from lively, humorous nation-language poems to experiments with ballad forms and the oblique, gnomic poems written in the years after Bones.

With an introduction by Denise DeCaires Narain Gurnah.

Mahadai Das was born in Guyana in 1954. She was a dancer, actress, teacher, beauty-queen and volunteer member of the Guyana National Service. She left Guyana to philosophy in the USA. Then came debilitating health problems. She died in 2003.
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