Saturday, July 30, 2011

Daljit Nagra

I just read a brilliant poem in, of all unlikely places, the New Yorker. It's titled "A Black History of the English-Speaking Peoples." The poet is Daljit Nagra of whom I'm an instantaneous fan. I'm definitely going to get his most recent book, Tippoo Sultan's Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy Machine!!!. First, though, I'll reread the New Yorker poem once or twice. There's much meat to it. It's amazing in terms of craft and structure, but mostly its language and especially its broad, profound political sweep and scope blew me away. The poem begins with the poet in the audience at a Shakespeare play--King Lear, I think, though I'm not 100% sure I understood the allusions--at the modern reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, and it spins outward with his thoughts as they're spurred to range upon empire and history. I am, as I've confessed before here, spectacularly uneducated and ignorant in poetry, but as they say I know what I like and I like this very much.