Dawad Philip

Philip - Cover - 9781681143415-Perfect - Final

A Mural by the Sea: Poems: ($15: Softcover: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-341-5; $30: Hardcover: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-342-2; $2.99: EBook: ISBN-13: 978-1-68114-343-9; LCCN: 2017942418; Edited by: Laura McCarthy; Poetry—Caribbean & Latin American; Release: October 15, 2017): Poetry and masquerade have always resided in me. I know them to be inspired, and when well rendered, magical. From San Fernando to Brooklyn, poetry is the Carnival, and the Trinidad Carnival finds its way into my poetry—­as visual and oral experience—everyday living, a painted face J’ouvert morning. Many of the poems in this volume have aged with me and over that time, and again like my own life, been transformed into some measure of sustained lucidity. The heart of these poems speaks to ordinary men and women and the world about them. From this landscape, language and experience comes A Mural by the Sea.

“In A Mural by the Sea, and after a long wait, Dawad Philip has presented us with a brilliant work infused with an imagery that is vivid and intense. His poems are like Impressionist paintings, with delicate yet deliberate brush strokes—image laden and alliterative—touching deeper parts of the soul and psyche. His voice is authentic, trustworthy, rooted in the soil and hardscrabble streets of his native Trinidad, and Brooklyn where he lived for nearly four decades. Philip embraces the richness and complexities of Caribbean life and culture without being sentimental nor duplicitous. His poems are a feast for the senses, a large and grand poetic mural that reaches beyond ‘the steel margins’ of our lives and our mortality.” —Geoffrey Dunn, Award-winning author and filmmaker, Calypso Dreams and Glamour Boyz Again

“What we get from Dawad Philip’s well-wrought poems, A Mural by The Sea, is the feel of villages and towns, as we used to know them, on their own, set apart from the continental bustle, Trinidad, not an old Trinidad, a substantial Trinidad starring real people, seamstresses and mas-makers and mas-players, dancers and singers in a love story that rescues for us those people who would have slipped away, but are snatched, held and brought back now to live again forever in all their beauty, the place alive with struggle and hope, calypso and mas and behind it all the quiet grief of loss, of love, of life.” —Earl Lovelace, Award-winning author of While Gods are Falling, The Dragon Can’t Dance, Salt and Is Just a Movie.

“This new book by Dawad Philip, someone I have understood for three decades to be a master of the genre, recalls exquisitely what Gwen Brooks once termed “a heart hunger for poetry.” In this instance, the assuaged heart hunger is my own. The cinematography of the collection will linger, implanting sensuous color, heat, foliage and delineating a tribe. These are persons linked by the certainty of their rootedness, as much as by their understanding that the crystal stair is no less taxing than the wooden one. Mr. Philip’s language is a force of nature. His engagement with life’s minutiae is both fixation and antidote. His is an awesome poetic footprint, caught up in the beauty of landscape, sound and the sanctity of each breath.” —Ruth Garnett, Poet and novelist: Laelia, a novel (Simon & Schuster/Atria 2004), Concerning Violence (Onegin 2012), and A Move Further South (Third World Press 1987).

“Dawad Philip is a miniaturist: his lines cut fine, carved into the dreams and fantasies, not only from the island he loves, but from everywhere where the metaphor of solitude contradicts itself, leaving nobody isolated, marooned, forced to fend for himself, make a life out of silence. Dawad gives us Trinidad, its streets, country roads, Carnival, its migrants, in sharp, sculpted verse ranging freely in a vast mural by the sea.” —Indran Amrithanayagam, Poet, The Elephants of Reckoning (1994 Paterson Prize), Splintered Face, Tsunami Poems.

After living and working in Brooklyn for nearly four decades as a poet, journalist/editor and artist, Dawad Philip has since resettled in his hometown of San Fernando, Trinidad. The author of Invocations (1980), Philip’s poems have appeared in several anthologies including Steppingstones, Bomb, Caribbean Voices and most recently, past simple. The poem “Memories of the Chalkstone Years”, first appeared in Bomb; “Om”, “Quarter Moon” and “After-work at Our Place” appeared in Poetry International (7/8 2003-2004); “Sando Proper” appeared in Voicing Our Vision Vol. 1 and “New World Language” New Rain, Vol, 10. A 1990 recipient of New York State Fellowship on the Arts (Poetry), Philip was one of five poets selected to represent Brooklyn in a Brooklyn-Leningrad Literary Exchange in the 1990s. He has performed his works in the Caribbean, U.S., Canada; Riga, Latvia; Moscow and St. Petersburg, and selected poems have been translated into Russian by the former Leningrad Writers Union. Philip, who holds a Masters of Arts (Carnival Arts) degree from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, keeps an active hand in the annual Trinidad Carnival and further afield as a costume designer and mask-maker.

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