The Cartographer Tries To Map a Way to Zion
In his new collection, acclaimed Jamaican poet Kei Miller dramatises what happens when one system of knowledge, one method of understanding place and territory, comes up against another.
We watch as the cartographer, used to the scientific methods of assuming control over a place by mapping it ('I never get involved / with the muddy affairs of land'), is gradually compelled to recognise – even to envy – a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman's eternal city of Zion.
As the book unfolds the cartographer learns that, on this island of roads that 'constrict like throats', every place-name comes freighted with history, and not every place that can be named can be found. (From Carcanet Poetry)