Artifact Title: Caliban

Medium: Audio Recording

Poet and Performer: Kamau Brathwaite

Recording Length: 10:06

Recording Location: Bowery Poetry Club, New York City

Year: 2004

Original Publication: Islands (1967), in The Arrivants trilogy by Edward Braithwaite, 191-195

Image Credit: Daphne Moss

TERA Curator: Alejandro Escalante


Caliban, enslaved by Prospero in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is a ubiquitous character in Caribbean literature. Described as non-human and dangerous by Shakespeare, Brathwaite uses him to illustrate colonialism’s inhumanity and violence. In the poem, Caliban is reinscribed. Even in the face of the ultraviolence of slavery, Caliban finds room for humanity, for newness, for music.