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FEATURED POET

This is the Dark Time My Love
by Guyanese Poet Martin Carter

This is the dark time, my love.

All round the land brown beetles crawl about.

The shining sun is hidden in the sky.

Red flowers bend their heads in awful sorrow.




This is the dark time, my love.

It is the season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.

It is the festival of guns, the carnival of misery.

Everywhere the faces of men are strained and anxious.



Who comes walking in the dark night time?

Whose boot of steel tramps down the slender grass?

It is the man of death, my love, the strange invader

watching you sleep and aiming at your dream.



SOURCE: Poems by Martin Carter, edited by Stewart Brown & Ian
McDonald, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., UK, 2006.
Poem first published in
Poems of Resistance from British Guiana by
Martin Carter, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1954.

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Poetry Corner

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FEATURED POETS

BRAZIL

CARIBBEAN
GUYANA

UNITED STATES

A poet cannot write for those who ask
hardly himself even, except he lies;
Poems are written either for the dying
or the unborn, no matter what we say.
~ EXCERPT FROM THE POEM "THEY SAY I AM" BY MARTIN CARTER,
CONVERSATIONS, A GROUP OF SEVEN POEMS, JOURNAL KYK-OVER-AL,
#28, BRITISH GUIANA, 1961.

Poetry is not argument. Poetry is statement.
~ MARTIN CARTER FROM INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSOR FRANK
BIRBALSINGH, DECEMBER 15, 1994.

In his poems, Carter favours a spare, stark style. He admits that it
is often more difficult to write simple poems than lengthy complicated
ones. Rightness is vital. “It is not a question of right for this or right for
that, it is just right," [Carter says]. "Sometimes you find a book of poems
and one poem may be perfectly correct for something the man is
saying, something he doesn’t even know he is saying.”
~ EXCERPT FROM "MARTIN CARTER: THE POEMS MAN" BY BRUCE
PADDINGTON,
CARIBBEAN BEAT, SPRING 1995.

What we have is enough to prove, if proof has been needed... that
Martin Carter is, without reservation, one of the finest poets to have
emerged in the Caribbean region. And the varied subtlety and strength
of his poetry carries him without any doubt into the first rank of world
poets. Long after the politics which prompted a number of his poems
have been forgotten, and long after the society which he often so
scathingly indicted has been changed utterly, the poetry will continue to
strike a chord among new generations.
~ IAN McDONALD, TRINIDAD-BORN POET AND WRITER AND CLOSE FRIEND
OF MARTIN CARTER.
GUYANESE POET
(1927-1997)
MARTIN CARTER was
born in Georgetown,
Guyana (then British
Guiana), to middle-
class parents of African,
Portuguese and
Amerindian ancestry.

As a member of the
anti-colonialist political
party, founded in 1950,
Carter's early poetry
reflects his concern for
the country's freedom
from colonial
oppression and call for
self-governance.

Gains towards self-
governance are short-
lived. In 1953, British
troops are landed. The
British governor
suspends the
constitution. Together
with other political
leaders of the party, the
poet-politician is
arrested and interned
for three months.

In 1954, after his
release, Carter
publishes his renowned
collection,
Poems of
Resistance from British
Guiana
. His poems
reflect the anxiety of
the times: oppression,
fear, and bloodshed.

Following Guyana's
independence in 1966,
he becomes the Minister
of Information
(1967-1970).
Disillusioned by
Guyana's new govern-
ment, he resigns his
position.

During the 1970s, his
poetry becomes more
personal and reflective.

POETRY COLLECTIONS
~ The Hill of Fire Glows
Red
(1951)
~ The Kind Eagle (1952)
~ The Hidden Man (1952)
~ Poems of Resistance
from British Guiana
(1954)
~ Poems of Succession
(1977)
~ Poems of Affinity (1980)
~ Selected Poems (1997)
WATCH & LISTEN
THIS IS THE DARK
TIME MY LOVE
POEM BY
MARTIN CARTER
(1954)

ORIGINAL POEM
PERFORMED BY
RON ROBINSON

SONG VERSION
WRITTEN BY
MARC MATTHEWS
& PERFORMED BY
KEN CORSBIE

THEATRE GUILD
GUYANA
2009

DURATION: 2:47 MINUTES
IAN McDONALD
TALKS ABOUT
MARTIN CARTER

MORAY HOUSE
TRUST
GUYANA
DECEMBER 2011

DURATION 7:14 MINUTES

MARTIN
CARTER

AWARDS
RECEIVED

Guyana Prize
for Literature
(1989)

Order of Roraima
for outstanding
contribution to
literature
(1994)

Gabriela Mistral
Inter-American
Prize for Culture
for contribution to
literature
(1996)

I COME FROM THE
NIGGER YARD

FEATURED
JANUARY 2015