This picks up where the previous installments of Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (use the search feature to the right to dig them up). As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore, emphasize, and insist on Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.
“Systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, the ongoing critique of police brutality and abuses of power—they loom large. In “Violins” the poet concludes, “We are all in prison. / This is the lesson of the twenty-first century.” This is not just a Foucaultian notion of the machinations of state power, or of Bentham’s panoptic, all-seeing surveillance structures. It is an allusion to the disproportionate rates of incarceration of Black males. All races are implicated in such a world.” – Andre Bagoo for The Rumpus on Rowan Ricardo Phillips’ Living Weapon
“I had NPR on in the fall and I heard a poem called “Violins” read by Rowan Ricardo Phillips. I loved the sound of it. Words are repeated and then rhymed and off-rhymed: the verse links sounds and concepts, combines jarring images and language. The poem ends with a date: 1916, and it expresses a bold vision of the 20th century. It’s the best poem in Phillips’s new collection, Living Weapon. It begins “He never saw a violin. / But he saw a lifetime of violence.” Right away Phillips makes this unlikely association of violins and violence — a surprising but apt comment on our current era’s juxtaposition of white privilege and Black Lives Matter.” – Poetry Review: The Verse of Rowan Ricardo Phillips — Let’s Get Weaponized? by Ed Meek
‘But this preoccupation with meta-definition is not entirely self-referential. It’s difficult, at times, to turn a page in Living Weapon without bumping into a familiar face: Elizabeth Bishop arrives just pages after W. H. Auden; Orpheus seems to pop up every 10 pages or so; and, in “Who is Less than a Vapor?,” Phillips offers a loose reinterpretation of a passage of John Donne’s prose — which he calls not “quite a found poem or an erasure” but rather “language in the crux of being instrument, weapon, and tool all at once.”’ – “Stronger Than Steel”: On Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s Living Weapon by Will Brewbaker in the Los Angeles Book Review
“The author excels as a storyteller, providing highly informative glimpses into the history, social life, and linguistic landscape of the island of Antigua… is adept at capturing and reproducing the various language registers of Antigua and Barbuda. The dialogue in Antiguan and Barbudan dialect therefore has a higher degree of authenticity. …Hol’ de Line and Other Stories has the advantage of appealing to old and young readers and offers Antiguans and Barbudans the opportunity to see what their society was years ago, its history, customs, language and food.” – Bernadette Farquhar on Mary Geo Quinn’s Hol’ de Line and Other Stories in The Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books, Volume 12, Summer 2019