About us


CANE ARROW PRESS was initially a project conceived in 2009 to promote the poetry of Trinidad & Tobago. Emanating from one of the last British West Indian colonies, the country’s poetry has had to make up a century-and-a-half head start on the longer standing territories such as Barbados and Jamaica. Although the novels of Selvon and Naipaul have received international recognition, the poetry of the nation has not been collected since 1943— and this was the prime aim of the original project.

A twin aim of the press— based in Britain as was always the way— was to support the poetry and philosophy of West Indian Britain. In the same way that T&T poetry exists on the margins of WI poetry, so West Indian British poetry fulfils that limbo position in exile; both derive their energy from a crossing of cultures.

Our first four books set out to test that idea— that the best creative writing comes out of a cultural crossroads— and having had some encouragement, the Press was restructured in April 2012, and now aims to publish two books a year for the foreseeable future. Already in 2012 we have released Sam Selvon’s collected poems — a T&T first— and that long awaited T&T anthology is close at hand, so soon we will be celebrating the work of forgotten ancestors and providing a springboard for current thinking.

News

Please read our news page for our latest activities and upcoming dates.

Our Books

The publication of the Poems of Sam Selvon— the first in the Poets of Trinidad and Tobago series— marks a new beginning for Cane Arrow Press. Having tested the water with our first four books, this is our first to address our core concern,the promotion of the poetry of Trinidad & Tobago. Ken Ramchand in his Foreword reminds us that many T&T novelists began as poets, a vocation with little financial reward but one embraced by a surprisingly large number of Trinbagonians. Sam Selvon, the writer who indelibly put T&T on the literary map, is a fitting author to give voice to the archive we are about to uncover as his characters were instrumental in creating a voice for the West Indian in the metropolis at a time when the term 'West Indian' was more synonymous with 'bus driver.' The passing of time has diminished this voice at home and in the former motherland and it is hoped that this series will begin to reverse this process and shed light on a lesser-known but equally nourishing aspect of this country's cultural heritage.

Titles from our first phase

These are still available in limited numbers

SIXTY POEMS FOR HAITI ed. DIEFFENTHALLER and HARRIS
ISBN: 978-0-9562901-3-7. Published June 2010.
A collection from poets in the West Indies, UK and Europe, some seasoned, some beginners. The only brief given was to send a poem for Haiti. Many responded directly to the traumatic earthquake of January 2010; others sent recent work as a gift to the people of Haiti. All profits to the Lambi Fund of Haiti.

AFTER A VISIT TO A BOTANICAL GARDEN by MAGGIE HARRIS
ISBN: 978-0-9562901-1-3. Published February 2010.
"This is the third collection from the award winning Guyanese-British poet: - a subtly orchestrated collection, telling of journeys and arrivals and dispersals, the epic of Caribbean reality. The poems are at times powerful and moving, at other times witty and tender, and always absorbing."   Abdulrazak Gurnah

OUR TIME IS NOW by CY GRANT
ISBN: 978-0-9562901-2-0. Published January 2010.
Essays on the need for a reawakening in Western consciousness by the author of Ring of Steel, the story of Trinidad’s musical gift to the universe; Blackness & the Dreaming Soul, a personal philosophy, and Rivers of Time, poems collected over seventy years. Cy passed the baton on to us on 13th Feb 2010 whilst in his ninety-first year.

CROSSED SUNS by Ian Dieffenthaller
ISBN: 978-0-9562901-0-6. Published October 2009.
Poems written between Britain and the West Indies by the author of Snow on Sugarcane, a critical history of the poetry of West Indian Britain. The author grew up in and around San Fernando, Trinidad and has lived in Britain since the 1980s.
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Cane Arrows at sunset

Links

CRB logo

Caribbean Review of Books

Trinidadian Letters logo

The Poems of Anson Gonzalez

T&T Bibliography of Creative Writing

Many moons ago, Anson Gonzalez compiled a bibliography of T&T literature. It is still available in its original state on Alana Trafford’s website.

Journals

JWIL logo

The Journal of West Indian Literature

Nalis logo

Trinidad & Tobago National Library

DLOC logo

Digital Library of the Caribbean

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OUR LATEST BOOK


OUT NOW

The Poems of Sam Selvon
Ed. ROYDON SALICK
Foreword: KENNETH RAMCHAND
ISBN 978-0-9562901-4-4
Launched August 2012. £13.50

This is the first collection of Sam Selvon’s poems, thus rounding off the publication of the writer’s works; his radio dramas, ballads, short stories, non-fiction pieces, and novels have been in print for a long time. Roydon Salick has compiled the collection from records at UWI, Trinidad, the Trinidad Guardian and the BBC’s Caribbean Voices. His comprehensive introduction and notes provide an invaluable context for the work and a fascinating glimpse into Selvon as a poet.

Click cover to enlarge

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