I’ve been re-reading Christian Campbell’s book of poems Running the Dusk. One of the poems in the book is one I keep coming back to again and again, ‘Iguana’. It begins like a standard occasional poem: “My friend from Guyana / was asked in Philadelphia / if she was from “Iguana.”” What follows is a sombre affirmation of the value of the Caribbean identity.
"A trick vessel is a type of mechanical puzzle. It is an impossible object; a magical trick that seems to do something it should not; that should not, logically, be possible. I was fascinated by this idea and how it is a metaphor for so many processes: for art, for the imagination, for love, for memory; for history; for politics and for power. I hope the book deals with these things and that readers will find many secrets…"
Read more from an interview about my book Trick Vessels at tongues of the oceanhere.
Reading a poem like this just makes you stop. Stop whatever you are doing and read it. Read it again. Study it, admire it, love it. The purity of its lines, the attention to structure in the progression of thought, the danger of its ambiguous ending. The edge, but the edge of what? A poem like this stops the world.