Every once in a while, a new poet appears who makes us feel that the contours of contemporary poetry have been significantly changed. Fred D'aguiar is such a poet. Although still in his early twenties, he already has a wholly independent voice, and a powerful grasp of original and strange subjects. Many of these arise from his childhood in Guyana: the first section of Mama Dot comprises a series in which these early years are recalled with a passionately lyrical evocation of landscapes, incidents and family relations. They are sensuous celebrations, but are nevertheless touched with melancholy and nostalgia – qualities which are more fully evident elsewhere in the book, in poems which address the life D’Aguiar now leads in England, and which concentrate on themes of exile. In the final section, ‘Guyanese Days’, he returns once again to the scenes and memories of his childhood. Mama Dot is one of the most exciting first collections to have been published for many years: exhilarating, haunting and restlessly inventive.