In May of 1986, the poet Kamau Brathwaite learned that his wife, Doris, was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live. Responding as a poet, he began ""helplessly and spasmodically"" to record her passage in a diary. This is a collection of excerpts from that diary and other notes from this period of the Brathwaite lives. The book is a tribute to Doris Brathwaite and an exploration of the creative potency of love. The title comes from the nickname Brathwaite gave Doris, who was originally from Guyana, of part-Amerindian descent. Exposing the intimacy of his marriage, the book is the closest Brathwaite has ever come to an autobiographical statement. In examining his life with Doris he found the courage to reveal something of his own character. But, more than an autobiography, it is an extraordinary work of literature, much of it written in the expressive ""nation language"" of Jamaica and the Caribbean. Brathwaite filters his pain through his poetic gift, presenting it to the reader with all the poignancy poetry conveys.
Edward Kamau Brathwaite is professor of comparative literature at New York University. Among his many books of poetry and scholarship are "Ancestors, Black + Blues, Masks, Islands, Days and Nights, Middle Passages, Our Ancestral Heritage," and "History of the Voice." He received the 1994 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.