Out of the Kumbla: Caribbean Women and Literature
Edited by Carole Boyce Davies and Elaine Savory Fido
This first collection of critical essays on Caribbean women’s literature created a field of literary criticism which engaged the absence of women writers from the Caribbean literary canon as it established the presence of these writers historically.
One of the sections of its introduction, “The Critical Context for a Caribbean Feminist Poetics” examined these issues theoretically as it raised some critical questions and spurred the development of a continued and sustained intellectual debate. It also revitalized Caribbean literature and criticism as it also expanded the narrow terms of Western feminist discourse. Using the metaphor of the “Kumbla” or “calabash” used to protect precious objects, first used by writer Erna Brodber, coming “Out of the Kumbla” then signified a movement from confinement to visibility, articulation, process which allowed for a multiplicity of moves, exteriorized, no longer contained and protected or dominated. “Out of the Kumbla is above all an articulation of our presence on the literary landscape.”