Caribbean Identity, Poem “Avocado” by Kendel Hippolyte, Poetry Collection Wordplanting by Kendel Hippolyte (UK 2019), St. Lucia/Caribbean, St. Lucian poet Kendel Hippolyte
My Poetry Corner February 2023 features the poem “Avocado” from the poetry collection Wordplanting by Kendel Hippolyte, published by Peepal Tree Press (UK, 2019). Born in 1952 in the Caribbean Island nation of St. Lucia, Hippolyte is a poet, playwright, and director. In the 1970s, he studied and lived in Jamaica where he earned a BA from the University of the West Indies in 1976.
He is the author of seven books of poetry. Fault Lines, published in 2012, won the OCM Bocas Prize in Poetry in 2013. In 2000, he received the St. Lucia Medal of Merit (Gold) for Contribution to the Arts. He lives in St. Lucia.
I do not usually feature very long poems, but Hippolyte’s fourteen-stanza poem “Avocado” captivated me with its compelling narrative, rich imagery, and Caribbean rhythm. As I question what will become of America with its deepening divide and a world seemingly hellbent on self-destruction, the first line drew me close. Attentive.
[Kindly note that Hippolyte is known for writing in Standard English (British spelling) as well as Caribbean English and Kweyol, his nation language.]Continue reading