Shivanee Ramlochan is a Trinidadian poet, arts reporter, and book blogger. She is the book reviews editor for Caribbean Beat Magazine. Shivanee also writes about books for the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, the Anglophone Caribbean’s largest literary festival, as well as Paper Based Bookshop, Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest independent Caribbean specialty bookseller. She is the deputy editor of The Caribbean Review of Books. She was the runner-up in the 2014 Small Axe Literary Competition for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers’ Prize. Her first book of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting,will be published by Peepal Tree Press on October 3rd, 2017.
[From Aztec Sorcerers in Seventeenth Century Mexico: The Treatise on Superstitions,
assembled with commentaries, circa 1617, by Hernando Ruiz de Alarcón. English version edited by Michael D. Coe and Gordon Whittaker. Presented here as a further installment of a work in progress coedited by myself and Heriberto Yépez. (J.R.)]
What makes me interested in the question of how poems travel is the very difficulty of capturing the actual experience of reading poems, especially as it varies from culture to culture, language to language. I don’t mean some abstract ‘impact’ or ‘effect’ of poems on individuals or societies. I mean those experiences of reading that can be demonstrated or documented, especially in the form of writing. “Transpositions” is an umbrella term for such material evidence of reception: it comprises different kinds of translation, different kinds of criticism, and more.
Shivanee Ramlochan, author of Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting (Peepal Tree Press, 2017) writes a Coolitude poetics and achieves a dazzling sense of historical hauntings in her debut collection of poetry. The ghosts leap. Her collection quite literally includes duennes and jumbies as a way to write about the missing, the dispossession, and the longing for a wholeness that haunts her speakers.
In Arcade, poet Erica Hunt’s 1996 collection and collaboration with the artist Alison Saar, the speaker describes herself as moving, through her stuckness and frustration, “against bureaucratic seizures of the possible.” The collection articulates a poetics of refusal, sometimes from a woman-identified subject position, sometimes as a woman of color, or as a mother of color. In other moments, as in the book’s title poem, the speaker’s identity is undisclosed.