Spring 2023 | Kei Miller | Vol. 6, Iss. 4

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Welcome to The Fight & The Fiddle, a publication of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Each issue gives you a 360-degree view of a Black poet, including an interview, new poems, a critical essay, and a writing prompt inspired by our featured poet.


It is no exaggeration to say Dr. Kei Miller is one of the Caribbean’s premiere contemporary writers. Educated in Jamaica, England and Scotland, Miller is the award-winning author of 12 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, as well as editor of a collection of contemporary Caribbean writers. His work is internationally recognized—his fiction and nonfiction has won the Prix les Afriques and Prix Carbet de la Caraïbe et du Tout-Monde, as well as the OCM Bocas prize for Caribbean Literature, and his poetry has been awarded the prestigious Forward prize, and his most recent collection, In Nearby Bushes, was shortlisted for the 2020 Derek Walcott Prize, longlisted for the 2020 Polari Prize, and was a 2019 Telegraph Herald Book of the Year. Miller is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded the silver Musgrave medal—one of the highest honors for the arts in Jamaica. Dr. Miller recently moved to the United States and currently serves as professor of Creative Writing at the University of Miami.

    • Interview: Kei Miller talks with The Fight & The Fiddle editor-in-chief, Lauren K. Alleyne about defining the world in writing, rejecting and embracing genre, and the poetics of Carnival.
    • Critical Essay: Samantha Stephens’ essay “Knowing Otherwise: Black Backgrounds and Blank Spaces in Kei Miller’s In Nearby Bushes examines how Miller’s use of space on the page “illustrates how the textual becomes political.
    • Poems: Read “A Mathematical Problem I Have Been Unable To Solve,” “The Dead,”and “The Subaltern Dreams of Big,” by Kei Miller.
    • Writing Prompt: Sometimes I Consider the Names of Places
Kei Miller reads Filop Plays the Role of Papa Ghede (2010)

Cover Design by Joaquin Sosa

Cover Photo  ©Philippe Matsas/Opale