Author: Kei Miller
One April day in Augustown, Jamaica. Ma Taffy, old and blind, sits in her usual spot on the veranda. No matter how the world tilts around her, come hurricane or riot, she knows everything that goes on in this small community. Which is why, when her six-year-old nephew returns home from school with his dreadlocks shorn, she realises that trouble won’t be far behind. And so she tells him the story of Alexander Bedward, the flying preacherman. She remembers what happened to the Rastaman and his helper, Bongo Moody; she thinks of Soft-Paw, the leader of the Angola gang and what lies beneath her house. For trouble is brewing once more among the ramshackle lanes of Augustown and as Ma Taffy knows, each day contains much more than its own hours or minutes or seconds. In fact, each day contains all of history…
The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
In this collection, acclaimed Jamaican poet Kei Miller dramatizes what happens when one system of knowledge, one method of understanding place and territory, comes up against another. We watch as the cartographer, used to the scientific methods of assuming control over a place by mapping it, is gradually compelled to recognize–even to envy–a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman’s eternal city of Zion. As the book unfolds the cartographer learns that, on this island of roads that “constrict like throats,” every place-name comes freighted with history, and not every place that can be named can be found.