Shortlisted for Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2021
A Guardian most anticipated book for 2020
‘Safiya Sinclair bursts onto the shelves with this richly powerful debut collection’ Scotsman
‘Cannibal is nothing less than an entrancing debut that reveals the teeming intellect and ravishing lucidity of a young poet in full possession of her literary powers.’ – Major Jackson
Colliding with and confronting Shakespeare’s The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair’s Cannibal beautifully evoke the poet’s Jamaican childhood and reach beyond to explore history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal.
Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke. Cannibal marks the arrival of a thrilling and essential new lyrical voice.
Cannibal is the dazzling debut volume of Safiya Sinclair, born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and living in the U.S. Her poems shimmer with the rich colours and sounds of her homeland, but running through is a sense of escape and of exile. * Daily Mail * Much like June Jordan and Audre Lorde, Sinclair is a force to be reckoned with. Her stanzas will revive you and leave you transformed. * Lenny Letter * Filled with beautifully rich imagery . . . Lyrical and provocative, Sinclair's poems teach the reader in rich language what it means to be 'other' * Buzzfeed Books * Covers so much ground: her Jamaican background, spirituality, womanhood, America, race relations. She laces words together in a beautiful tapestry, full of history, life, death and, most of all, renewal. -- Morgan Jerkins, New York Times Book of the Month: A singingly gifted writer . . . Sinclair riffs on this notion of savagery as she evokes her childhood in Jamaica and explores race relations in the US; womanhood and otherness; post-colonialism and life in exile . . . An astonishing talent. * The Bookseller * Cannibal is nothing less than an entrancing debut that reveals the teeming intellect and ravishing lucidity of a young poet in full possession of her literary powers. Here is a poetry that richly interrogates power and history while also eloquently and furtively asserting the possibilities of nature, desire, and the body as ceremonial and spiritual sources of resistance and affirmation. -- Major Jackson With exquisite lyrical precision, Safiya Sinclair is offering us a new muscular music that is as brutal as it is beautiful. Intelligent and elemental, these poems mark the debut of a poet who is dangerously talented and desperately needed. -- Ada Limon
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