Christian Campbell, Running the Dusk (Leeds, UK: Peepal Tree, 2010); 81 pages; ISBN 10-1845231554 (paper).
In an interview with Lisa Allen-Agostini published last year in the Caribbean Review of Books, Trinidadian-Bahamian poet and professor Christian Campbell cites the usual suspects—British Romantics (John Keats), Latin American exiles (Pablo Neruda), West Indian Nobelists (Derek Walcott, “a first love”)—as his literary influences.  Then the line breaks and a funny shift happens. In quasi-verse form, Campbell’s taxonomy grows encyclopedic—Jamaican reggae artists (Buju Banton), American jazz divas (Sarah Vaughan), Mexican surrealists (Frida Kahlo), Russian freestylers (Aleksandr Popov), Japanese breastrokers (Kosuke Kitajima)—a lovely crescendo that gives way to the inevitable diminuendo: “All the Africans, Amerindians, East Indians, and others that made me.” One pictures a broad-chested Campbell when he declares, “Whatever else it may mean, I think that [post-postcolonial] may be one way to locate my work generationally. I am very much a post-Independence (and post–Civil Rights baby). What are the tongues for these times?”