Winner of the 2021 Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award

 

In the Coral Reef of the Market
Earl Carlton Huband (Oman 1975–78)
(Peace Corps poetry)
Main Street Rag Publishing
2020
44 pages
$12.00 (paperback)

Earl Carlton Huband is also the author of  The Innocence of Education, winner of Longleaf Press at Methodist University’s 2018 chapbook contest. He was a Peace Corps volunteer (PCV) in the Sultanate of Oman from 1975 to 1978. He taught English in the remote fishing village of Bukha located in a then-restricted military zone at the mouth of the Persian Gulf for two years. During his third year, he worked in Salalah, the capital of Oman’s southern district, splitting his time between teaching English and serving as assistant to that region’s Chief English Inspector. This second book of poems is also based on his Peace Corps experiences.

Huband dedicates this book:

“To all people worldwide who have worked
to promote cross-cultural understanding”

Huband describes a wide variety of experiences with honesty and grace. The language of his poems is authentic, and filled with rich, clear detail. The reader encounters people, food, customs, practices and lifestyles, witnessed through the poet’s accepting eye. The book teaches us not only about another culture, but also about ourselves as outsiders experiencing that culture.
Many of the poems in this collection involve other expatriates instead of or in addition to Huband himself. Many times the situation described is not resolved, as it might be in a longer prose version. But that is the prerogative of the poet, to leave us blank spaces to be filled in based on our own experiences, or leave us feeling frustration similar to that felt by the author at the time, sharing that feeling with the reader.

 

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