Andre Bagoo is a Trinidadian poet and writer. He is the author of Trick Vessels (Shearsman Books, 2012), BURN (Shearsman Books, 2015) and Pitch Lake (Peepal Tree Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared at Boston Review, Caribbean Review of Books, Cincinnati Review, St Petersburg Review, The Poetry Review and elsewhere. He was awarded the Charlotte and Isidor Paiewonsky Prize by The Caribbean Writer in 2017.
One of the most important poets of the Indian Labor Diaspora is Mahadai Das (1954–2003). Born in Eccles, East Bank Demerara, Guyana, her poem “They Came In Ships” serves as an ancestor poem to all of the poetry written by Indo-Guyanese people today. According to Peepal Tree Press’s website,
Articulating the Caribbean as one geopolitical place has been a problematic that Silvio Torres-Saillant has delineated in his book Caribbean Poetics: Toward and Aesthetics of West Indian Literature. Torres-Saillant posits that in order to understand the literature being produced in the Caribbean the reader must first understand that ideas of literature, literary theory, and language are not necessarily universal. What he means is that the Caribbean must be understood in terms of its own history before any claims can be made about the literary merit of its writings.
Coolie Woman interweaves the author’s journey to uncover the mystery behind her great-grandmother’s exit from India, pregnant and alone in 1903, with the larger epic journey of Indian indentured women to the Caribbean as sugar plantation laborers from 1838–1917. The book is cross-genre, as much immigrant memoir and immersion journalism as it is narrative history or collective biography.