School of Instructions
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From the publisher
This unforgettable book-length poem is both an honouring and an inquisition.
In language that is sensuous and biblical, School of Instructions centres on the experience of West Indian volunteer soldiers in British regiments during the First World War. The poem gathers the psychic and physical terrors of these Black soldiers in the Middle East war theatre and refracts their struggle against the colonial power they served. The narratives of the soldiers overlap with Godspeed, a young schoolboy living in rural Jamaica of the 1990s. This visionary collision, written in a form Ishion Hutchinson calls ‘contrapuntal versets’, unsettles time and event. It reshapes grand gestures of heroism into a music of supple, vigilant intensity. Elegiac and odic, epochal and lyrical, the triumph of School of Instructions is how it confronts the legacy of imperial silencing and etches shards of remembrances into a form of survival.