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Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting by Shivanee Ramlochan review – fierce fantasy


Women, queer and non-binary voices are loud in the face of repression in a poetry collection that bridges fantasy and reality in modern Caribbean society

Shivanee Ramlochan may not yet be widely known on this side of the Atlantic, but she will be soon: An active literary presence in Trinidad with her exciting, original verse, Ramlochan’s work examines, among other things, Caribbean identity and the fabric of modern Caribbean society, she is shortlisted for this year’s Forward best first collection prize.

This extraordinary debut collection, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, uses speculative poetry – a genre that explores the human experience through fantasy or the supernatural – to challenge and transcend conventional gender narratives and reimagine Caribbean society through a queer, radical feminist lens.

At Jouvay, it eh matter if you play yourself
or somebody else. […]
Play yuhself.
Clay yuhself.
Wine en pointe and wine to the four stations of the cross,
dutty angel,
bragadang badting,
St James soucouyant,
deep bush douen come to town […]

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