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Catalog » Browse by Title: S » So Much Things to Say: 100 Poets from the First Ten Years of the Calabash International Literary Festival

So Much Things to Say: 100 Poets from the First Ten Years of the Calabash International Literary Festival

Edited by: and

Robert Pinsky and Derek Walcott anchor this groundbreaking, soulful poetry collection.

$16.95 $12.71

Available as an e-book for:


Read Colin Channer’s contribution to “My Caribbean – 5 Vignettes,” which appeared in the November 10, 2013 issue of the New York Times.

Imagine a night of a hundred poets reading their work to an audience of intensely engaged, responsive, and lively people—say three thousand of them. They are a loud bunch when it is time to make noise, but they are silent as congregants at prayer when the poets’ language entrances them. Imagine the reading taking place under a tent pitched on a grassy lawn that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. Imagine that this is not the north coast of Jamaica, with its cliche of white sands and coconut trees, a place glutted with cruise ship passengers and bewildered tourists; imagine instead a rugged coastline, a landscape full of the kind of character we find in the weather-beaten faces of wise old folk; imagine fishermen, farmers, ordinary workers, schoolchildren, and traveling people moving around as if they have been in this place forever and as if they all belong . . .

Imagine one hundred poets, some whose names you know and some you have never heard of, stepping onto the stage, opening their mouths and hearts, and singing out poems of great variety, complexity, beauty, and passion . . . Imagine laughter and tears, imagine sighs of familiarity and moans of pain, imagine tragedies enacted in the words that move through the shelter of the tent; imagine a poem like a fist, or a sharply painful open palm, or the tender caress of fingers, or the firm grasp of a handshake. Imagine stories dropping like seeds into the ground and growing rapidly and wildly all around you.

This is the setting and mood of the greatest little festival in the greatest little village in the greatest little country in the world, and this anthology is what the festival would look like were all 100 poets who have read at Calabash over the years to come together on a late-May weekend to read. So Much Things to Say is a unique gathering of a group of poets who represent at least one reckoning of the place of contemporary poetry in 2010.

Contributors include Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Elizabeth Alexander, Amiri Baraka, Martin Espada, Terrance Hayes, Valzyna Mort, Sonia Sanchez, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Staceyann Chin, and 88 others.

Also check out Iron Balloons, the fiction anthology from Jamaica’s Calabash Writer’s Workshop, and The Girl with the Golden Shoes, a novella by Colin Channer.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Published: 7/1/10
  • IBSN: 9781936070077
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070855


KWAME DAWES’s debut novel She’s Gone (Akashic) was the winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award (Debut Fiction). He is the author of twenty-one books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. In 2016, his book Speak from Here to There, a cowritten collection of verse with Australian poet John Kinsella, was released along with When the Rewards Can Be So Great: Essays on Writing and the Writing Life, which Dawes edited. His most recent collection, City of Bones: A Testament, was published in 2017. His awards include the Forward Poetry Prize, the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, the Musgrave Silver Medal, several Pushcart Prizes, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, and an Emmy Award. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and is Chancellor Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. Dawes serves as the associate poetry editor for Peepal Tree Press and is director of the African Poetry Book Fund. He is series editor of the African Poetry Book Series—the latest of which is Tisa: New-Generation African Poets, A Chapbook Box Set—and artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2018 was elected as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Bivouac is his latest work published by Akashic.

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COLIN CHANNER was born in Jamaica to a pharmacist and cop. Junot Díaz calls him “one of the Caribbean Diaspora’s finest writers.” His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Harvard Review, The Common, and Renaissance Noire, among other places. Channer has served as Newhouse Professor in Creative Writing at Wellesley College and Fannie Hurst Writer in Residence at Brandeis University. His many books of prose include the novella The Girl with the Golden Shoes, “a very moving and mesmerizing journey” in the words of Edwidge Danticat. He won the Silver Musgrave Medal in Literature in 2010 and currently lives in New England. Providential is his first poetry book.

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