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; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): 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.

Philip - City - Cover - 9781681145471-Perfect

City Twilight: Poems: ($15, 64pp, 6X9”: ISBN: 978-1-68114-547-1; $30: ISBN: 978-1-68114-548-8; $2.99: ISBN: 978-1-68114-549-5; Amazon Soft Cover: ISBN: 979-8-596393-38-5; LCCN: 2020917488; Poetry—Caribbean & Latin American; Release: January 1, 2021; Purchase on Amazon or Barnes & Noble): is the equilibrium articulated in this new collection: it is sun and horizon, the bridge between light and darkness, Jouvay and Las Lap, the book ends of the Carnival; and in the middle, the ordinariness of life and personal journey as the axis turns. City Twilight is an unknown steelband taking us through the unmasking of life in the bundles of the day’s news dropped off at the news stand, fresh bread; a street sweeper after the commerce of the day, an evening landscape, language and experience.

“Dawad Philip is a national treasure who uses his many talents and creative skills as a writer, designer, artist, poet and entrepreneur to capture and distil in whichever medium or combination of outlets he chooses, the uniqueness of our still evolving national culture. His poetry captures the wealth and depth, the beauty and occasional bafflement, upside and downside of life and living in the enigma that is Trinidad. He is our Renaissance man holding a lamp and mirror before us, showing us who we are and what we can and should become. He is a friend, faithful and just, to his muse, his conscience and his multiple talents. City Twilight is not an echo so much as a variation of T.S. Eliot’s theme from The Four Quartets,

                                    We shall not cease from exploration                                     

                                    And the end of all our exploring

                                    Will be to arrive where we started

                                    And know the place for the first time.”

—Tony Deyal

Dawad Philip: Author of Invocations (1980), A Mural by the Sea (2017) and Jayden and the King of the Brooklyn Carnival (with Yolanda Lezama-Clark, 2019). Dawad Philip’s poems have appeared in Steppingstones, Bomb, Caribbean Voices, Poetry International, past simple, Voicing Our Vision and New Rain. The poem, “Licks” is a slightly revised version of the original (Invocations 1980). A 1990 recipient of New York State Fellowship on the Arts (Poetry), he has performed his works in the Caribbean, U.S., Canada, Latvia and Russia. Philip, who holds a Masters of Arts (Carnival Arts) degree from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, keeps active in the Carnival as a costume designer and mask maker. After living and working in Brooklyn for nearly four decades as a poet, journalist/editor and artist, Philip has since resettled in his hometown of San Fernando, Trinidad. A Mural by the Sea (2018), a film by the late playwright/filmmaker Tony Hall, is based on selected poems from the book of the same title.


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