Breiner, Laurence A.
BREINER, Laurence A.
PERSONAL: Male. Education: Boston College, B.A.; Yale University, M.Phil., Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Department of English, Boston University, 236 Bay State Rd., Boston, MA 02215. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Boston University, Boston, MA, professor of English and member of African-American studies faculty.
Orality and Decolonization in West Indian Poetry: The Chemistry of Presence, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 2005).
Contributor to books, including The Art of Derek Walcott, 1991; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 125: Twentieth-Century Caribbean and Black African Authors, Second Series, 1993; West Indian Literature, 1995; and Communities of the Air, 2003. Contributor of scholarly works to periodicals, including Journal of Commonwealth Studies, Journal of West Indian Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, Ariel, Isis, and Modern Language Quarterly; contributor of poetry to Agni, Paris Review, and Partisan Review; reviewer for and contributor to periodicals, including Commonweal.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Orality and Decolonization in West Indian Poetry: The Chemistry of Presence.
SIDELIGHTS: Although the West Indian novel has prompted more studies than the poetry of the region, Laurence A. Breiner focuses more attention to the latter with his An Introduction to West Indian Poetry. The first chapter of the work focuses on role of the the writer in society, and Breiner notes the importance of local journals, poetry clubs, and scholarly organizations and conferences to West Indian poets and readers. He studies the cultural and geographic origins of various poets, including Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, Jean Binta Breeze, Claude McKay, Michael Smith, and Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Keith Alan Sprouse, writing in World Literature Today, noted that in his book Breiner "situates the (anglo-phone) West Indies within the broader context of the hispanophone and francophone Caribbean, offering short sections on Afro-Cubanism, Negritude, and Haitian Indigenism, as well as some helpful allusions to U.S. African American writing of the period." Breiner establishes the relationship of West Indian poetry with that of Europe, Africa, and America and provides an analysis of how history from colonialism and resistance to decolonization are documented in poetry over time. A contributor to Modern Language Studies pointed out that one of the book's strengths "is the historical and social context of poetry in English written in the Caribbean."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Ariel, October, 1999, Stella Algoo-Baksh, review of An Introduction to West Indian Poetry, p. 157.
Choice, April, 1999, A. L. McLeod, review of An Introduction to West Indian Poetry, p. 1455.
Forum for Modern Language Studies, January, 2001, review of An Introduction to West Indian Poetry, p. 93.
World Literature Today, summer, 1999, Keith Alan Sprouse, review of An Introduction to West Indian Poetry, p. 577.