Blackness & Black women, Caribbean Region, Climate crisis in Caribbean, Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), Poem “Ex(ile)” by Desiree C. Bailey, Poetry Collection What Noise Against the Cane (2021) by Desiree C. Bailey, Slavery in French colony of Saint Domingue/Caribbean, Trinidadian-born Poet Desiree C. Bailey
My Poetry Corner May 2022 features the poem “Ex(ile)” from the debut poetry collection What Noise Against the Cane by Desiree C. Bailey that won the 2020 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Born in the Caribbean island-nation of Trinidad & Tobago, she was nine years old when she migrated with her family to the USA where she grew up in Queens, New York.
Bailey earned a BA from Georgetown University (Washington DC), an MFA in Fiction from Brown University (Rhode Island), and an MFA in Poetry from New York University. In Fall 2022, she will be the Writer-in-Residence at Clemson University (South Carolina).
In her interview with Corrine Collins for Air Light Magazine in September 2021, Bailey described her poetry collection What Noise Against the Cane as “a praise song to the ocean, Black people, Black women, the Caribbean, and struggles for liberation.” The first half of the collection is a long narrative poem titled “Chant for the Waters and Dirt and Blade,” written from the imagined perspective of a young, enslaved husk of girl orphaned at the ocean’s distant edge / before ship before humid choke of hull / before trade winds splintering [her] off into the world’s directions. With dreams of freedom, the girl joins other slaves in their fight for liberation during what became known as the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804): freedom: ruthless siren hurl and shriek / louder than a dream.Continue reading