David Dabydeen’s Turner, is a postcolonial response to the authors of colonial atrocities. Dabydeen attempts to convey within his poem a society haunted by the injustices of the past which have been denied recognition and redemption from the prosecutors and historians themselves. Drawing on theoretical concepts of postcolonialism, hauntology and mid-mourning, Dabydeen’s Turner, attempts to highlight the agony and powerlessness of those who were, currently, and will soon be subject to, to overcome the curse of past injustices. Focusing on the physical and psychological marks the colonial project placed and continues to place on the body and psyche of the drowned slave, the narrative of agency being gained through death is problematize.
As summarized by Steph Craps, David Dabydeen’s Turner, is essentially a poem which brings to the attention to the reader the immortal presence of past injustices. Steph Craps read Dabydeen’s Turner, as a poem emphasizing the closing of the gap between the past and the present where the injustices of the past usurp the possibility for mobility and agency of present and future generations. Craps derived the hauntological aspect of Dabydeen’s Turner, where the victims of past injustices hover and haunt the present in their search for justice. David Dabydeen’s Turner, is a depiction of a drowning slave’s failed attempt to “fabricate a new self and a new history” within a society that is “trapped by the powerful forces of the past” (Craps 2010