Bird Head SonBird Head Son, ISBN 9781844714353, (Salt, 2009) Hardback, Paperback
Written over a 5 year period, the highly original poems and experiments with form in ‘Bird Head Son’ cover the poet’s ‘1st life’ in Trinidad, beginning with his departure from Trinidad to the UK in 1989, the poems are divided into 6 sections, each considering an aspect of the poet’s experience of Trinidad life in the 1970s and 80s.

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Listen to ‘Bird Head Son’ from the album inspired by the book.

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Short description/annotation: Written over a 5 year period, the autobiographical poems in ‘Bird Head Son’ cover the poet’s ‘1st life’ in Trinidad, beginning with his departure from Trinidad to the UK in 1989, and moving back to his childhood in 1970s Trinidad. Anthony Joseph’s last book was the critically acclaimed ‘The African Origins of UFOs’, this is his first collection of poetry since 1997’s ‘black surrealist manifesto’ Teragaton.
Main description: Anthony Joseph’s last book was the critically acclaimed ‘The African Origins of UFOs’, this is the first new collection of poetry by Joseph since 1997’s ‘black surrealist manifesto’ Teragaton. Written over a 5 year period, the highly original poems and experiments with form in ‘Bird Head Son’ cover the poet’s ‘1st life’ in Trinidad, beginning with his departure from Trinidad to the UK in 1989, the poems are divided into 6 sections, each considering an aspect of the poets experience of Trinidad life in the 1970s and 80s.
The poems are autobiographical but they cover universal themes such as exile, family and ancestry, Carnival, ‘home’, the dream or mythic Caribbean in a haunting section entitled ‘Backroads of the Mythic’ and in the final ‘Epilogue’ section, a return to ‘the floating island’ that ‘home’ has become. The personal becomes the universal in these poems. The collection effectively forms a poetic closure to the poet’s roots and beginnings. In this process of distillation the poems illuminate the seminal experiences that have shaped the poets aesthetic. In this way, it is also an autobiography of the mind. These innovative poems, shot through with Joseph’s trademark surrealism and his juxtaposition of Caribbean attitude, rhythm and post modern poetic technique show why Joseph is considered ‘the leader of the black avant garde’ in Britain and one of the UKs most original voices.