Vladimir Lucien

Johanna Lawshea

Vladimir Lucien graduated with honors with a degree in literatures in English and theater arts from the University of the West Indies–Trinidad and is currently pursuing a master of philosophy in cultural studies at the University of the West Indies–St. Augustine. Lucien’s collection of poetry Sounding Ground (Peepal Tree Press) is winner of the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. These poems contain stories of ancestors, immediate family, the history embedded in his language choices as a St Lucian writer, and heroes such as Walter Rodney, C. L. R. James, Kamau Brathwaite, and a local steelbandsman. This is a collection that is alive with its conscious tensions both in subject matter and form. There’s a tension between the vision of ancestors, family, and of the poet himself as being engaged in the business of acting in the world and building on the past, and a sharp awareness of the inescapability of age’s frailty, the decay of memory and of death. In the music of the poems themselves, there’s an enlivening counterpoint between the natural rhythms of spoken Creole and the metric organization of the line and its patterns of sound.