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book cover of 

Shook Foil

Shook Foil

(1997)
A collection of poems by

 
When the guitars tickle a bedrock of drum and bass, when the girl a shock out and a steady hand curve round her sweat-smooth waist, when the smell of Charlie mingles with the chemicals of her hair and the groove is of the sweetest friction - how is a young man to keep his way pure?

Kwame Dawes's poetry rises to new heights in these psalms of confession and celebrations of reggae's power to prophesy, to seek after righteousness and seduce the body and mind. Here is poetry walking the bassline, which darts sweetly around the rigid lick of the rhythm guitar yet expresses all the sadness and alienation at the heart of reggae. This, for Dawes, is the earth which 'never tells me my true home' and where behind every chekeh of the guitar there is the ancestral memory of the whip's crack. Shook Foil dramatises the conflict between the purity of essences and the taints of the actual, not least in the poems which focus on Bob Marley's life. Here is the rhygin, word-weaving prophet and the philanderer with the desperate hunger for yard pumpum, the revealer of truths and the buffalo soldier who has married yard with show biz affluence. Above all there is the intense sadness of Marley's death, for how can one live without the duppy conqueror's defiant wail in an island gone dark for the passing of his song?

But for Shook Foil there is always the gospeller's hope that the dead will rise from dub ruins and patch a new quilt of sound for the feet to prance on. And when the high hat shimmering and the bass drum thumping, what else to do but dance?

 
Used availability for Kwame Dawes's Shook Foil


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Paperback Editions

January 1997 : UK Paperback
Title: Shook Foil: a collection of reggae poetry: Poetry Walking the Bass Line
Author(s): Kwame Dawes
ISBN: 1-900715-14-7 / 978-1-900715-14-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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