November 12, 2015
Anegadian Alphaeus Osario Norman (1885-1942) may have been the most skilled poet of form these islands have produced. Unfortunately, his poems are not readily available for reading, most easily accessed in time capsule documents like 1834-1984: 150 Years of Emancipation published by the Ministry of Education and Culture or in books of devotional and autobiographical poetry by his granddaughter Andria Flax. Andria has been very gracious in sharing several of Norman’s poems while I pursue my doctoral degree, and his grandson Richard Courtney deCastro shared documents that clarified errors in other publications. With the hope of spreading both an appreciation and intellectual curiosity for Norman’s work, I have selected three poems here to focus on:the haunting ‘Loss of the HMS Valerian'; a retelling of the 1733 St. John slave rebellion in ‘Amina Negroes'; and the anthemic ‘The British Virgin Islands Negro’.