The restructured varieties of English emerging from the “prism” of languages in the Anglophone Caribbean trace a complex and stratified sociolinguistic history stemming from the interaction of European, African and Amerindian languages and developing into distinctive Creoles. However, Creoles have been historically stigmatized as corrupted versions of the standard language confined to popular oral culture.Despite the persistent prejudice towards Creole, Caribbean poets have increasingly started to use the vernacular in their work, retrieving the rhythms of orality and experimenting the many possibilities offered by its polyphony. The volume examines the continuing tension between orality and the written word, exploring the different ways in which Caribbean poets give dignity to “the way we talk”. Starting from the 1940s pioneering work on ‘dialect verse’, the corpus of this study includes texts from the Caribbean diaspora at the crossroads of writing and orality, poetry and music.
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