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Lagahoo Poems

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781900715843

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The lagahoo is a shapeshifting, trickster figure of Trinidadian legend (and popular belief), a thoroughly creolised werewolf. Like the native American Coyote, he operates at both divine and very human levels, as both a world-creator and an interferer in peoples’ affairs.

The subject and consciousness of these arresting and truly original poems, Lagahoo is present from the beginnings of time, witness to countless arrivals and still around at the new millennium with his sly rejections of all repressions: sexual, social or political. He is present on a crowded bus, whispering, ‘Your feet are bound and laced in leather,/ Your women’s breasts are held with wires’. He is the creative, subversive creature of ‘deep dark mud-lust and rebellion’, who, unlike men, makes no distinction between himself and the earth he lives off (‘I wear the red earth by staying low’) whilst men live in a state of alienation and ecological enmity until their deaths when (‘the earth will stitch their bodies/ With roots and vines, Like stupid little buttons.’)

Belief in the reality of the lagahoo has featured as a successful defence in the Trinidadian courts where Aboud practices his other occupation as a barrister. There a defendant was acquitted from a wounding charge on the grounds that he believed that his victim, attacked at night, was a lagahoo. The victim, indeed, corroborated this defence by admitting that though he had never seen one, ‘Ah does hear dem howling in de night’. In locating his voice in the twilight world between legend and reality, Aboud constantly rearranges the way the world can be perceived.

James Christopher Aboud was born in Trinidad in 1956 and educated there, in Canada, and in England. His first collection of poetry, The Stone Rose, was published in 1986. He lives in Port of Spain and is a Barrister-at-Law.
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