by Landeg White
Kondwani Publications 2017
A second edition, “Pruned and Re-invigorated”.
Traveller’s Palm is a celebration of the journey of Landeg White’s life, of the alliances formed and the battles fought and the “spots of time” that define them.
The week I landed, I couldn’t distinguish
face from face, tree from tree. I found
girls too ripe, the flowers over-doing it,
the sunsets vulgarly ostentatious,
and the night sky, in dazzling 3D
with its billion lamps, intimidated.
How could I read such over-statement
when irony withered on the tongue?
Beissel described priapic breadfruit,
hibiscus with their flies undone. Witty,
of course, but false. The trick
was never to adumbrate the exotic,
but to be re-born, writing as though
such miracles were entirely natural,
the scheme of things. As began to happen
when faces cracked into separate smiles.
from Traveller’s Palm by Landeg White
“Seven chapters contain sixty-nine quartets of quatrains, in largely unrhymed pentameter, though the form forces ear and eye to notice half-rhymes and assonance, to give attention to a language which is being paid out measure by exact measure. This is dense, ambitious writing, a poetry of witness and strict fact”
“TP resembles that dream of a ‘special delivery’ described in its second poem: a parcel arriving out of the blue, months after its despatch, full of half-remembered items from another life. The parcel of Landeg White’s life contains more of interest than most. Naturally, White is a poet of place, but quite a literary one too. He has taught, and transforms his ELF experience into a brilliant satire in the 28th poem. He likes to filter his experience of a country through his knowledge of its writers, but there is no whiff of anything academic here, only a rich feeling for history and landscape. This is not a narrative nor really a sequence, but an autographical and inter-cultural collage. Like the palm of the title, it is a self-contained green fountain”
Times Literary Supplement