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By (author) John Agard
Illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
Published: 29th Jun 2000
Dimensions: w 139mm h 217mm d 12mm
Weight: 274g
ISBN-10: 1852244801
ISBN-13: 9781852244804
Barcode No: 9781852244804

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Kirkus US
The "weblines" Agard refers to are those spun by the West African trickster spider-god Anansi rather than those of the Internet, but in the constant playfulness that runs through the first third of his latest collection, Agard has no qualms about giving Anansi her own "website" in the more contemporary parlance as well. Anansi, whose name is given in just about every variant spelling imaginable (a sign of the spider-god's shape-shifting prowess and the mutability of ancient folklore in modern times), is the central figure of the new poems in this volume, which also includes selections from previous Agard works, "Limbo Dancer in Dark Glasses "(1983) and "Man to Pan "(1982)-collections that are thematically linked to the new poems by their concern with the pains of the black Caribbean experience and the folk cultures of resistance that this history of oppression engendered. In the new poems Agard (a Guyanese who has lived in London since 1977) performs an entertaining balancing act that melds the naivete of folk form with a more sophisticated language of modern urban man, juggling his own self-conscious wordplay with the trickery of his folk hero. The earliest poems, while attempting something similar, too often drift into mere doggerel and agitprop. But the new work (and some of the better verse from "Limbo Dancer") finds a fulcrum that enables him to make political comments that are every bit as mordant and pointed as those of the earlier ones but that also have a vitality and prosodic music that is often thrilling to read and hear. A mixed bag, but a good introduction for newcomers to Agard's work. (Kirkus Reviews)