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.
Kei Miller is the author of three novels, several poetry collections, and Fear of Stones and Other Stories, which was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book. In 2014, he won the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection for The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. Born in Jamaica, he lives in London and teaches creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.