When Kirk Ramdath was a child, his mother came from Trinidad to Calgary to give her family a life of greater opportunity than the one she left behind. Love in a Handful of Dust, his first book, is in many ways the fulfillment of that opportunity. Though in its romance, it might seem to be far away from the conservative values of the world he came from, in its extended riffs on sex, politics, faith, on ecstacy – not the drug, but the feeling surging up fom an excess of the sensual, the emotional, the poetic, it is, in many ways, a thank-you love poem to his mother, and a man’s understanding of the meaning of the women in his life.
Ramdath’s intensely personal lyric strives to make meaning of love’s worlds in these poems. He’s wandering and wondering through vicissitudes of lust and sanctity — which prove to be two sides of the same coin. “Are you fed by me as i am fed by you?” he asks…. If consumerist iterations are crass and fleeting, then how do you leave a gentler mark? By peeling back the larger realms, Ramdath works his way down through the political and the intimate, towards the loss that separates us from self.
Trinidad, Calgary is a place where walls collapse because they are enemies, where the gods of poetry demand only truth, where an army of kirks fights for love. Here, poems can take footnotes, but they rip your teeth out, too. Here the words are bald, feelings are volcanoes, love is revolution. Kirk Ramdath’s poetry doesn’t posit a better world, it demands it, These poems are a blueprint of hell. Where is your Britney Spears now? Ramdath’s dust is an incendiary device in mid-ballet. He is destroying the world as he saves it. All we can do is live here.
In this stellar collection Kirk Ramdath explores the realm of love as he circumnavigates the concept from a plethora of different directions and perspectives. As the book opens to the reader so does the poetic notion of Eros, as Ramdath slowly reveals a fragile yet astute eye. There is great beauty in his vision! At the core of these poems Ramdath addresses social issues and dreams of a world without hatred or separation between people. His poetry lives in a world of change in which humanity is the most important concern. These poems are precise, finely crafted, and live on the page as well as the stage. The language Kirk Ramdath plays with will bring you to your poetic knees, and yes, Kirk Ramdath is a poet to watch!
About the Author
Kirk Ramdath is a mainstay among Calgary’s poets and spoken-word artists. His “Passion Pitch” poetry series has brought together a wide range of writers to share their words and music, drinks and discussion in an era when the open mic reading, so fertile a ground for many writers practicing today, has been abandoned. He has organized poetry in the park readings and as well as some of the readings in the Single Onion series. Kirk’s poetry has appeared in chapbooks, journals, and on stage – he was one of the first readers in the Calgary Spoken-Word Festival’s “Smart Men, Hot Words” readings. His poetry is noted, appropriately, given the reading series he founded, for its passion and sensuality.