Rastafarians in Post-Independence Caribbean Poetry in English (the 1960s and the 1970s): from Pariahs to Cultural Creators
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AbstractThis article proposes to look at the way Rastafarians were portrayed in various ways by West Indian poets in the 1960s and 1970s. After paying attention to the historical and cultural context, the article focuses on three main strands in the portrayal of Rastafarians at the time. In a number of poems, Rastas emerged as pariahs and idealists who based their life on a fantasy. Other poets saw the Rastafarians as the symbols of the absurdity of man’s condition, patiently waiting for some kind of deliverance. Lastly, another tradition in West Indian poetry in English tends to look at the Rastafarians as the bearers of a new, creole culture and the emphasis is laid on their contribution to Caribbean culture in terms of language and symbolism.